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Dramatic.success.at.Work - Using Theatre Skills to Improve Your Performance

Dramatic.success.at.Work - Using Theatre Skills to Improve Your Performance

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Published by: tps5970 on Nov 20, 2009
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Michael Caine was playing a role on stage where the character
didn’t speak throughout a scene. He felt rather at a loose end with
nothing to do, until the director gave him the following note: ‘Your
character is choosingnot to speak; he is too busy listening.’ This
allowed Caine to be more active in the scene, knowing that he was
contributing something vital.
Jack Lemmon said of his colleague Walter Matthau: ‘He acts
with you, not at you.’ Lemmon explained: ‘There are some actors
who simply listen to the words rather than listening to the person.
Walter always listens to the person.’
The importance of listening cannot be under-estimated. We
often work with teams who simply never listen to each other and
yet wonder why they have unsupportive relationships.
Communication always involves other people and to do it
well your attention has to be fully on the other person. This is the
starting point, both for listening and for talking. In fact, many con-
versations go wrong because of how people do or don’t listen. And
sadly we often don’t listen, we merely nod while we are planning
what to say when it’s our turn.
A study conducted in 1967 by psychologist Albert Mehrabian
concluded that communication is 7 per cent verbal, 38 per cent
vocal, and 55 per cent non-verbal. The verbalis the words used. The
vocalrefers to the sound, whether intonation or accent. And the non-
verbalis all about body language, including gesture, posture and
expression. You could remember this as words, music and dance.
Even if we don’t entirely accept the ratios involved, commu-
nication certainly becomes more effective when congruence and



‘Suit the action to the

word,and the word to the



William Shakespeare

consistency exist between these three areas. To paraphrase a song,
‘It ain’t what you say, it’s the way that you say it.’ Actors are trained
in both vocal and physical techniques. Why not potential star per-
formers in business?

Our voice should reflect our true feelings. It is an expression
of who we are. It is the authentic sound of the self.

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