• February 2015

Harness Your Master Performer

By Hilary Blair
CEO and Lead Coach

and Robin A. Miller, PhD
COO and Lead Coach

ARTiculate Real & Clear: Clear Communication Is an ART ARTiculateRC.com

You want to be the best public speaker you can be, right? So why would you choose a trained performer to work to finesse your next keynote or presentation?

Would it make you think: “Won’t I be learning how to be fake?” “Won’t it be about acting, which makes me feel vulnerable, and uncomfortable?”

Or do you think: “Professional actors are experts on story, voice and nonverbal communication, movement, creativity, character, collaboration, receiving feedback, taking risks, and meeting deadlines — and I’d love to get me some of that?”

First, let’s clear up a few key points:

  1. Acting is not about being “fake.” Acting is about being real. Actors train to be present in imaginary situations. Actors are not bothering to study how to be fake — because honestly, we all are fairly decent at that on our own.
  2. Actors study how to most effectively use voice and body in service of the story being told — and in service of the audience receiving it — this dual focus works collaboratively toward a common goal. Actors study how to be and remain present and real.
  3. Trained professional performers (singers, actors, dancers, etc.) have exercises and techniques designed to train them to remain in the moment — to be present. These techniques can translate as tips and tricks to help any professional communicator communicate more easily and effectively.
  4. Performers with teaching, coaching, and directing experience also have a highly developed sense of when things are fake and what might be causing it. This occurs because part of the process of rehearsal for a performer involves being aware of when we are connected and being real, as well as when we are disconnected from the truth of the moment. We are called on it when a director senses lack of connection or commitment. Sometimes actors can adjust on our own, and sometimes we need the outside eye for guidance.
  5. In addition to be sensitive to the “fake meter,” we are also comfortable with diving into what makes people tick — without going into therapy. (FYi: Any skilled coach knows the line between therapy and therapeutic and will not cross it.) It’s a character study, and it’s not a personal dissection or triage. Coaches, trainers, and facilitators who are also professional performers are often powerful teachers.

The Bottom Line

Being a great public speaker means constantly refining your techniques. Being an excellent leader means heading up a team that works collaboratively to successfully bring about an end product that is useful, and profitable.

As a professional in business, we have all had to work with plenty of folks we don’t get along with. And, we’ve had the privilege of working with those with whom it is a dream to co-create.

In this process, we have mastered a variety of physical and vocal techniques that help us be effective speakers.

Harness this skill that you have spent years cultivating. And to master the art of public speaking, reach out to professionals who have spent their lives delivering an effective message.

“Click here to watch Robin Miller talk about being “Real & Comfortable” when you’re speaking publicly in the February 2015 episode of ARTiculateTV.”:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxhYu1vUz4I&index=1&list=PLBHZLcLO-jnJJ8jDoe6NrO9HqqdRe0RWH

For more information, visit www.articulaterc.com.

About Hilary Blair

CEO and lead coach for ARTiculate: Real & Clear, Hilary Blair, MFA, with physiological guidance from Jennifer Spielman, MM, MA, CCC-SLP, is an admitted breath snob.

A presentation and speaking voice expert, Blair is a highly regarded coach and facilitator working extensively across the United States with businesses that include American Express, Janus Funds, Staples, Liberty Global, and Hunter Douglas. She uses her skills and experience as a stage, film, and voice-over actor, teacher, and voice coach to help people in a variety of positions, including entrepreneurs, CEOs, writers, and project managers.

Her coaching is informed by what is unique and authentic in the individual or group. In addition, she facilitates workshops that use improvisation to improve leadership skills, team-building, and creativity. She is on the faculty of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and has been adjunct faculty for a number of universities. An active member of Toastmasters and a board member of VASTA—the Voice and Speech Trainers Association—she holds an MFA in acting from the National Theatre Conservatory and a BA from Yale University.

About Robin A. Miller

Robin Miller is an energetic, motivational keynote speaker who has also spent more than 20 years in teaching, training, and coaching. Her specialty is in guiding the well-thought individual to become confidently well-spoken in settings such as interviews, meetings, and keynotes. Her clients include Coors, the University of Denver, and Sterisil.

She has performed vocally and conducted numerous musical groups throughout her career, as well as taught music at Baylor University, the University of North Texas, and Texas Christian University. Her expertise in navigating customer communication derives from her experience as a customer relationship manager in the financial industry, and as a development specialist in some of Denver’s leading Level 1 trauma centers, as well as her advanced training in mediation and crucial conversations. She earned an MM in music from Baylor University, a PhD in Musicology from the University of North Texas, and a MDiv from the Iliff School of Theology.

Blair and Miller acknowledge the amazing voice teachers with whom they have had the privilege of working: Chuck Jones, Rocco Dal Vera, Gary Logan, Patsy Rodenburg, Catherine Fitzmaurice, and Kristen Linklater, to name a few.

For more information, visit ARTiculate Real & Clear: Clear Communication Is an Art, at ARTiculateRC.com