THE BLOG
05/21/2014 03:05 pm ET Updated Jul 21, 2014

Acting Techniques You Can Apply to Real Life (to Some Extent)

"All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts." -- William Shakespeare, As You Like It

I recently took an acting class focused on monologues. While I am nowhere near professional, I learned a lot about how we put ourselves on display and the preparation it takes to highly perform -= on stage and in life. It can be nerve-wracking but the key is to appear natural, be it job interviews, conversations with friends and significant others or even ourselves. Here are a few ways to act out in real situations.

  • The stronger the visualization, the better the performance.
  • People generally don't want to see the exercise being done -- they want to see the results. Leave the sausage-making explainers at home.
  • Steer the focus away from the "I." Stress the verb part of the sentence. You can scream "I love you" or "I LOVE you" to vocalize the action.
  • Go into a room with a goal in mind and don't leave "stage" without trying to get something, stir a reaction from the other person.
  • Pretend you know the outcome of the situation. It will make you play out the process in a different way. For example, if you think someone is going to react poorly, you might act more desperately and ruin your chances. Positive thinking can't hurt.
  • Breathe, relax and resonate before speaking up. Start small, then go big or go home.
  • Change the beat when you're making a longer speech. Being monotone is boring. The more changes, the more rich it sounds.
  • Sometimes, too much coaching is more detrimental than helpful. At some point, take the training wheels off and fly solo.
  • Don't always attack to win an argument. People get frightened to flight or fight mode when you provoke selfishly. You could gain favor with a different type of energy.
  • Get your audience sympathetic to your cause. They're more likely to listen if you show vulnerability and root for you to win.
  • Actors appear magnetic and charismatic because they can demonstrate immense interest in another person. Project your full attention outwards, and the room will be drawn to your enthusiasm instead.

Subscribe to the Culture Shift email.
Get your weekly dose of books, film and culture.