As an introverted child, my father would have to encourage me to play with other children. If someone would come and talk to me first, I´d be able to engage in conversation but the thought of making the first move and being rejected prevented me from taking the lead.
I´ve always loved theatre, dressing up and imitating other people: the way they spoke, walked, carried themselves; all of this in the comfort of my living room, of course.
I once watched an interview with a Spanish actress, Blanca Portillo, where she said: “Being an actor is learning how to be other people in order to learn how to be yourself”.
I thought that if I´m playing someone else, a character, I´d then be confident, because “I'm not myself”. As time progressed, I started looking at things from that perspective in my day-to-day life, too.
A job interview? I´m playing a candidate.
First day at a new job? I´m playing an employee.
Pitching an idea? I´m a show woman.
That was the only way on which I could make it work for myself and deal with my nerves. I wasn't confident but I was very good at “acting confident”. Also, acting can be fun, it takes pressure off things and makes stressful experiences slightly more comfortable.
I always recommend acting classes even for people who don’t want to become actors because this is how it can help you in your personal and professional life:
1. Speak with confidence: A big part of becoming an actor includes regular oral reports, interviews, presentations, and participating in productions. Memorizing lines and being able to connect to a person or an audience is just the practice needed for excellent public speaking skills. Acting will give you the confidence required to give presentations without fear because you´ll be learning how to use your voice and body, enunciation so everybody will understand what you´re saying and you´ll also learn how to be an active listener and read the room.
2. Set and achieve goals: Being an actor demands a lot. You learn how to juggle homework, memorize lines and perhaps attend acting and voice classes, all while having a side hustle or full time job, or jobs. This balancing act will teach you planning, time management skills, accountability and discipline. It´s not so far removed from what you´re doing right now in your corporate life, or is it?
3. Stress Management: Working in theatre or film requires long hours, managing the emotional let-down after a show finishes not knowing whether you´ll be working again, or playing all sorts of real-life scenes, including intimate ones in front of strangers. Learning how to deal with all of this stress sets you up for the challenges of day-to-day life. When you practice leaving your nerves and anxiety outside the door, letting go of control, in addition to relaxation techniques in acting class, you’re gathering valuable tools for managing any type of stress. All of this could help when trying to record your next company video, pitch a project in front of a selected audience or deliver a mesmerizing presentation in front of the board of management.
Have I convinced you to join an acting class or are you still unsure? If you want a safe environment to work on your Public Speaking Skills and Personal Development, check out my program “Persona”.