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.