In 2002, I took an acting class. I had always wanted to be on TV or in a movie and I figured that this would be a good place to start. What I didn’t realize at the time is how acting and public speaking can work together — the skills that you learn in one can help you in the other.
To be a good actor, you need to memorize your lines and make the audience believe that you are the person you’re pretending to be. To be a good speaker, you need to speak clearly and effectively to get your point across. Can you see how one can help with the other?
Keep in mind, though, that public speaking and acting do require different skills and depending on the type of acting that you’re interested in and the type of presentations you give, you might find one a lot more challenging than the other.
If you do most of your acting in front of a camera, you may struggle when it comes to performing in front of a crowd. That’s why so many people who perform beautifully on the big screen fumble through an acceptance speech. If you’re acting mostly in a theater setting, chances are you’ll have a grip on controlling stage fright.
But think of it as working those rarely worked muscles. If as a presenter, you feel that your tone is too monotonous or you’re not animated enough, an acting role can help you work on that. If as an actor, you struggle to remember your rehearsed lines, you might want to strengthen your memorization lines buy giving speeches that are longer than your typical parts. This will give you more opportunities to practice.
Like most areas of personal development and self improvement, you need to figure out what works best for you. I found that acting helped me practice focusing on not only what I was saying, but how I said it. I typically don’t memorize my speeches, but there are often points that I want to make in a very particular way. I’ll often rehearse those sentences as if they were my lines in an acting role and pay close attention to my voice and my body language.
As you’re building your arsenal of powerful communication tools, consider trying out acting and see if it helps you. You’d be surprise what happens when you think outside of the box.
James Feudo owns the Boston Web Design Agency JVF Solutions and loves blogging about personal development and communication in his spare time.