I’ve found that my best presentation skills actually come from my experience acting and as a ballerina. Yes, that was in high school and university, but that practice in front of an audience has been invaluable to me. Plus I see these core presentation skills in my friends and colleagues, in particular Tod Maffin whether he’s podcasting or presenting—you can hear his years of radio experience—and Darren Barefoot when he’s presenting on anything has a certain stage presence that comes from his theatre background.
People who’ve had acting experience know how to perform for an audience. This is something that Darren and I have discussed at length. There’s a certain understanding of storytelling and performance that goes into a good presentation. So my 1 minute marketing tip for professional speakers—or sales and marketing people like me—is to take an acting class. There are always community centres, dedicated schools and continuing ed courses in acting, which is that step beyond Toastmasters or other classes in public speaking. Acting classes reinforce the performance aspect as well as the improvisation skills that make so many great presenters appear natural and comfortable on stage.
So if you’re interested in upping your game as a professional speaker, or even if you’re frequently doing client presentations, guest speaking or other sales and marketing presentations, I highly recommend taking a theatre or acting class.
If you’re in the Vancouver area, one of our clients, ContinuingEd.ca, is offering an 8-session course staring April 17 called Acting for the Fun of It.
Regardless of where you live, find a class that works for you, and have fun!
And, if you’re aspiring to be a professional speaker, I highly recommend Tod Maffin’s free email newsletter on Speaking Tips.