Acting Techniques for Professional Presence

by Sandra Zimmer

If all the world's a stage, it's no wonder those with performing arts backgrounds do so well in non-theater jobs like lawyer, engineer, architect, marketer, educator or business executive. And it's no coincidence that many businesspeople are turning to acting classes to help build self confidence and create a stronger leadership presence.

Here are some established techniques actors use to improve their performance that you can incorporate into your work life:

1. Connect with the audience.
When getting ready to walk into an interview, present at a meeting or speak before a large crowd, focus your attention on your audience. Be there to support them and help them understand what you have to share.  Actors learn to focus on the other actors they are playing with as if he others are the most important people in the world.  Such focus helps them concentrate and stay connected.


2. Breathe.
When people get nervous, their breathing becomes shallow, which means they're taking in less oxygen and functioning less effectively. Taking ten deep breaths – breathing in through the nose to fill your lungs and exhaling out through your mouth – will calm your nerves and make you feel more flowing.

3. Ground your body for "presence."
Presence is relaxing deeply into your body so that you have a sense of being all here and now in this moment.  Sit quietly for a few minutes and focus your attention into your head.  Feel a sense of energy buzzing in your head.  Then imagine you flow that energy down through every part of your body, all the way down to your feet.  Imagine you fill your feet with energy. 


4. Voice control.
Put resonance in your voice by focusing the vibrations of your voice onto the hard palate of your mouth.  When your voice vibrates on the bony roof of your mouth, ir resounds with beauty and projects to others.


5. Appreciate silence.
Learn to be comfortable with silence. Don't step on your lines or someone else's by rushing in to fill conversational pauses. Silence adds power to your message and signals that you are confident and thoughtful.

6. Use soft eye contact to connect.
Soften your eye focus and look gently on other people.  Soft eyes allow you to receive others.


7. Make a big entrance.
Enter the room radiating energy and purpose.  Act as if you own the room and are allowing others to share it with you.

8. Make graceful exits.
And finally, if you want to be brought back for a second or third curtain call, exit on a high note – and always leave them wanting more!

 

MEET SANDRA ZIMMER.
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It's Your Time To Shine: How to Overcome Fear of Public Speaking, Develop Authentic Presence and Speak from Your Hear by Sandra Zimmer

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