Having never been particularly good with public speaking, I decided to join a drama group in London with the hope to improve my confidence. The class consisted of a few children’s games. When I asked the teacher why, she said that by playing children games such as, Wink Murder, you get into a child-like state of mind. This mind-set helps to not only relax you, but, like a child, you become more free, playful and imaginative. She explained that children are not embarrassed when they are playing games, and by getting into this role you become less awkward yourself and more willing to act.
Once warmed up, I did actually feel a lot more relaxed and found it easier than I previously imagined, to start acting in front of a crowd. Now, you may wonder what children games and acting has to do with your next presentation…
Speaking in public can be a daunting prospect, whether it’s a board meeting in front of a handful of colleagues, or a presentation to hundreds. Trying to impress your fellow associates, a director or new client can be a difficult task, but it’s made a hundred times worse with the given pressures that this is your livelihood, and something you must succeed with.
Stuttering, shaking, sweating, nausea and stomach problems are some of the most common complaints of public speaking; and though nerves cannot be helped, they can be the difference between gaining or losing a client, and in some more serious cases, your actual job.
Drama class can help to improve many different aspects that public speaking involves. Not only will you be put in a situation where you have to speak in front of a group, but you will also be making your speech in a non-pressurizing situation. The people you will be acting with are not there to judge you, or laugh at you; a lot of them will be like you, wanting to improve their confidence. By familiarizing yourself with speaking in public in a way like this, you can build up confidence gradually. Fellow actors and your teacher will also provide you with constructive criticism, helping you to become a better and more competent presenter. Acting can also help to improve your communication skills, allowing you to work better and more efficiently in a team.
Exercises such as, improvisation will help with regards to thinking quickly on your feet. Whether something unplanned happens during your presentation, or you’re struck with a series of difficult questions, improvisation will allow you to react quickly and appropriately.
Drama classes will also improve your imagination, which will not only help those in creative roles, such as writing, artists and advertisers; but will also provide you with plenty of inventive ideas on ways in which to attract new clients and produce a presentation or speech that will be well remembered.
Actors develop confidence over time and this assurance can be used in both social situations and career-wise. If you believe in yourself, people will believe in you. Drama provides people with the opportunity to develop a positive view of themselves, which will be reflected when you’re communicating with others, whether that’s presenting a new idea, liaising with clients, or asking for a pay-rise.