Tag Archives: #corporatedramaworkshops

A Masterclass and the Power of Words

imagesI was at a Masterclass at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in which the Actor Mark Strong shared his experience of the industry and his career before hosting a Q and A. One of the questions Mark was asked was how he gets into a character – to understand the essence of their being. His reply was that’s its in the writing and he gets everything he needs from the words, he spoke in particular about his role as Eddie in the play “A View from the Bridge” by Arthur Miller.

It was a very simple yet powerful answer, because words have the power to change the world. Think of the four words, “I have a dream”. The moment they enter your mind, you know who said them and why. They are a call to action, and a call to find the best part of ourselves, because words have the power to arouse every emotion.

Words are fundamental in our lives and the medium through which we communicate who we are and what we stand for. Just as Mark used the words written to understand who Eddie is, the people we interact with come to understand our beliefs, values and dreams though the words we use to communicate. Because as people its what we can make with words – ideas, images, hopes, theories, fears, plans, understanding, expectations, a past and a future, culture, ways of seeing …. the list is endless and the power is simply ‘powerful’.

Whenever we communicate there is much at stake, and perhaps even more so in our working environment. When you’re preparing your next presentation or key note speech, to help your process, consider the following techniques actors in training develop to hone their skills in understanding the words, that will allow them to deliver them with the greatest impact:

They are encouraged to read play after play after play because script analysis is the nuts and bolts in the literal fleshing out to bring characters to life. Every line of dialogue, every movement, every action and reaction gives an understanding of a character’s motivations and objectives, emotions and desires and allows the actor to step in and become the character.

You can apply this technique by following the ‘Thought Leaders’ in your industry: study them as the actor does to gain valuable insights into their characters and stories. Use the same approach to understand what’s happening outside of your industry and sector, to recognise successful trends, practices, and behaviours that could make a difference to your world. Harvard and Forbes are good sources for promoting excellent communicators and leaders and people worth reading. Another excellent source is The growth Show from HubSpot, a business podcast for leaders featuring conversations with people who have achieved remarkable growth. The Growth Show from HubSpot

Interestingly writers are often recommended to take an acting course to follow this same process, because particularly in the early stages of developing a concept, they need to get to know their characters inside and out and learning to live in a character’s skin, the same way actors do sharpens their innate ability to substitute and imagine emotionally truthful stories. Maybe its time to take an acting class to develop your voice – technically to develop a great speaking voice and also to develop your unique character voice that will motivate, inspire and impact those listening to you.

In the meantime you can draw on your learnings from your reading, research and analysis to adapt this process to the concept, message, idea you want to communicate, by following these three steps:

1. Begin by understanding the bigger picture in the same way Dr. Martin Luther King did. He had a deep rooted understanding of the world he existed in, the challenges and problems, and the changes that needed to take place to move beyond this. You will need the same understanding of the world/industry/organisation/team you operate in.

2. Dr. King took time to get to know people at grass roots level, to understand their hopes, dreams, fears and challenges, you need to stand in the shoes of your audience to understand your world from different perspectives. These are the first steps in developing your message to communicate your understanding of what others are feeling and thinking and show respect of other’s point of view.

3. Having an understanding of both the big and small picture – the world you operate in and the individuals within that world, provides the backdrop to your story (script, concept, idea, message), as well as an understanding of the fundamental words you need to use that have the power to arouse every emotion, and how to deliver them with the greatest impact that demands a call to action.

Evolving Careers Players can help you make an impact through the power of words. The techniques of performing arts are at the core of our work. Get in touch to discuss your needs: carmel@evolvingcareersplayers.com

You can check out our programmes: http://www.evolvingcareersplayers.com/programmes.html

 

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Improvisation Career Change and Hiking in the Alps

FearDuring an improvisation workshop one of the exercises was for the group to work in pairs and to tell a story by each saying one word at a time. They did this by moving around the room and they began to step into the story and played out the actions and emotions as the story unfolded. The instruction was to go with it even if it took them to a scary place and to then go beyond that and experience where it took them from there. Every single pairing ended up dying and then coming back to life in a different capacity, and that was where their stories became even more interesting and great fun as they began to explore unknown quantities in respect of the pathways ahead of them as they unfolded in the moment.

I find so many parallels in corporate drama workshops and role-play scenarios and real-time work-based scenarios from career development and management through to career change and transition. The techniques, methods, and structure of performing arts, which are at the core of our work are significant in the always evolving world of career learning and development.

I have conversations all the time with people who have reached a scary place in their career and they are struggling to go beyond that and this reminds me of a Mark Twain quote “courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear”. Metaphorically speaking the courage needed to go beyond that barrier of fear to the other side of your career life can be compared to the fear felt before dying and crossing over to the other side or spiritual world.

Richard’s story is one of many in terms of clients who have come to this place in their career. Richard was a language teacher, his first language was English and he was fluent in French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish. His whole career had been within private schools teaching young adults, and while he had enjoyed his work, he felt he needed a change and wanted adventure and excitement in his life. Unlike some clients who reach this stage but don’t know what to do next that will give them what it is they’re seeking, Richard did know, but nonetheless it was still a scary prospect because to take this step beyond, would take him away from the security and stability he had in his current role and into the unknown.

Richard wanted to move into the travel industry with a specific focus on educational travel languages and cultural programmes within Europe. This would allow him to use his language skills and to nurture his knowledge and love of medieval and 20th century European history. He was experienced in designing school trips and had established strong collaborative working relationships with partners in a number of countries. He had also spent many holidays skiing and hiking in the Alps and so all in all he was in a pretty good place in knowing the possibilities that could be out there.

But it kept coming back to giving up a full time job and everything that went with that, it would also mean leaving his home in the UK for part of the year at least, as well as the social world he’d established for himself, and he had a pretty good life in London embracing his cultural interests and had a good circle of friends and so he fought this urge to move beyond where he was, which was actually pretty good but at the same time lacking that sense of excitement and adventure that he yearned for.

It was actually three years after I first met Richard and when he shared his career dream with me that it finally came to fruition. He admitted to having being scared to take the step he so wanted to, and of course he needed to consider the reality of the situation, particularly around the financial implications, relocating and what he would do with his home in the UK and moving away from his friends.

During these three years however he did work towards his career goal and spent his holidays exploring the countries of his choice before narrowing it down to specific regions and all the time talking to people and building relationships and friendships. Once he began to open up to people about what he aspired to do, he began to have some interesting conversations and more and more ideas opened up to him around how he could make this work and the opportunities that were out there.

For peace of mind he wanted to secure enough work for his first year and the good groundwork he put in place throughout his three year research enabled this to happen. He got his first assignment in a ski resort in the French Alps, working with Japanese business people to ensure they experienced the cultural highlights of the area. He has further work which will take him into the summer and autumn organising hiking exhibitions throughout the Alps.

Richard has now resigned from his teaching position, he’s rented his home for one year, his friends have all promised to visit him and he’s already established a good circle of friends in France. He’s stepped beyond that place of fear and is ready to embrace what lies ahead.

*Published with client permission. Name has been changed.

Evolving Careers Players can help you take the necessary steps to a difficult career transition. We deliver 121 career coaching, group learning and development and outplacement services. We devise community forum theatre, corporate drama workshops and role-play scenarios. http://www.evolvingcareersplayers.com Get in touch to discuss your needs carmel@evolvingcareersplayers.com