Just Like An Actor

It’s funny, I have never wanted to be on stage acting in a production. Never wanted to ‘audition’ for roles in high school or community theater. I do, however, have a child who is currently studying in college to be a Broadway musical theater performer. For years I have watched her audition for roles.

I watched as the grueling process of figuring out what scene she want to use for her audition, what song she would sing (if it’s a musical) and how she needed/wanted to portray your character kept her thinking for days. Then came the audition. The nerves. The excitement. All of it rolled up into a very short assessment on if she was the person they wanted for the role. Often, she was, in some way, shape or form, cast in the production. She has played great characters over the years and will do so going forward, as she has a gift. A gift I do not have. Or so I thought….

Daily, I am reminded that the work I do for a living is very similar to that of an actor. Or director (when I have my coaching hat on). Let me explain.

The foundation of my coaching is around communication and if you have ever worked with me or heard me speak at an event or conference, you will hear me say the key part to making communication work for you is Practice. Practice. Practice. I say this so often that I tell people I want them to hear those three words when they think of me!

Why is practice so important? 93% of communication comes from your tone of voice and non-verbal’s NOT the words you say. In order to deliver the message you intend (with your boss, your employees, coworkers, spouse, children, etc.) you need to ensure you know exactly what you want to say but more importantly HOW you want to say it. Does your tone match the message? Do you have the appropriate non-verbal’s? It’s important to take the time to think through key things like this and also how you want to be perceived by the receiver(s).

It’s no different than practicing for an audition. Just like researching the character, what they need to convey in the scene and practicing the lines until you get it exactly right. The same process is used in communication.

The process goes like this:

Write down what’s to be said > Practice reading out loud > Practice non-verbals > Assess.

When I say practice, I don’t mean in your head. I mean say it out loud. Hear your tone. Record yourself and listen later. Is the message you want being conveyed? If yes, practice again until its ingrained in your memory. And it its not, start from the beginning. And keep practicing OUT LOUD. You want to practice until it’s ingrained in your memory so you come across confident, focus on your tone and non-verbals and deliver a message that is well received.

I tell people I am an Oscar nominated actress in my head. Then I will open my mouth and it’s not anything like I planned. What the heck? That’s why practicing is important.

And I tell you this not just as a coach but as someone who lives this every day. All the time. And someone will always be a work in progress.

To your continued growth, development, and amazing potential,