If you take on an extracurricular activity or start a new hobby, you inevitably gain a whole set of new skills and imagination, whilst also developing on valuable life skills. Taking Drama classes is no different and the confidence gained can have a great impact on your communication skills.
No matter your line of professional work, communication skills are absolutely necessary to succeed. The first thing that any job advertisement will require is good written and verbal communication skills, teamed with a certain level of numeracy. But, remember that there are other ways of gaining basic skills other than from school lessons.
Acting lessons, for example, enable you to focus on dialogue, script analysis and performing, working through aspects related to accent and dialect, whilst also teaching about posture, positive body language and expression through facial expressions.
What kind of employee are you if you can’t listen to even simple commands and what sort of manager would you be if you didn’t listen to the concerns of your faculty?
Don’t be that boss who takes no notice of his workers. Photo on VisualHunt
Communication techniques are essential for survival, but being able to communicate well in the workplace is particularly useful. Some may think that they are good communicators because they successfully manage to get their points of view across in meetings or from one side of the office to the other but in actual fact there is a very big difference between being able to communicate and being able to communicate well.
Drama classes are a great way to fine tune your communication skills, and particularly to enhance your ability to listen. This does not mean your ability to simply hear and process an instruction, it means to receive an instruction, truly understand it and respond and react to it in an appropriate manner. Acting like you have grasped a point is not the same thing as truthfully comprehending. In addition, receiving acting tips from a seasoned drama instructor can help you to negotiate sensitive work-related discussions with more tact and grace.
During Drama lessons, you will be faced with a group of like-minded individuals; meanwhile, they could have very different behaviours and attitudes which can be challenging to learn to cope with.
While you may share a mutual passion for dramatic and artistic theatre, that doesn’t mean to say that you necessarily agree with how your peers present themselves in drama school. By learning to put up with potentially loud and insensitive people in a Drama workshop, you can be sure that you can be prepared to tolerate almost anyone in the workplace! Not to mention be able to have a two-sided conversation with them whereby you each listen to each other, not interrupt one another, and manage to make joint decisions.
Not to mention a boost in your creativity through improv sessions that will help you think on your feet during brainstorming meetings with your bosses.
Learning to listen better can enhance your communication and social skills. Photo on Visualhunt.com
There is nothing more frustrating than having to repeat yourself over and over again before the person you talking to finally understands or acknowledges your point, so don’t be that person who doesn’t fully engage in conversations or who is easily distracted by elements outside of the circumstance.
Similarly, don’t be that individual who is having an emotionally-loaded chat with a friend, nodding along in agreement or sympathy, but in reality is thinking about what he or she has to wear out to a party later that evening.
When you have things on your mind, it can be quite easy to lose the thread of conversation and drift into your own world for periods of time. Listening is important in keeping your loved ones close, as it shows them that you are being sensitive to their feelings and enables you to conduct yourself in a more diplomatic and responsive way.
Many would say that speaking and listening are skills that are dying out thanks to digital communication, but when it comes down to it and technology fails us, our personal interaction is always there and ready for action.
In truth, there are few scenarios in life where it is better to put something down in writing to convey a really important message.
Though it can be sensible to put complaints and matters of a professional nature in writing for administrative reasons, there is something to be gained from sitting down and following your email or letter up with a face to face conversation.
Don’t you find that you are able to negotiate discounts or returns procedures much easier if you are able to have a one to one discussion with a manager rather than getting wound up by pointless emails being mailed back and forward? Drama lessons teach you well-rounded communication skills which means that you can remain calmer in difficult situations, listen more carefully, and react with poise and politeness (even if you have to bite your tongue!).
Actor training can teach you many of these skills through the various different types of performing. There is, for example, the Sanford Meisner or Meisner technique, Method Acting, the Lee Strasberg ideology, Stella Adler acting and the Alexander method, to name but a few. These techniques will each provide tips like relying on your instinct, embracing spontaneity in the moment, working on your improvisational reactions and projecting emotion.
Listening is a vital skill for any performer, especially those who are often involved in improvisation work and must react quickly and feed off of others’ comments. Plus, actually listening to your co-star talking transforms a scene into a more authentic performance, as opposed to just standing and waiting for cue line.
The Meisner technique particularly encourages this idea of being able to participate in the present, and imagining that there is no one else in the room other than the actors on the stage.
Method Acting, however, requires ongoing commitment and asks the actor or actress to become the character they have studied, working on every aspect of their on set personality, even when they leave the theatre. Preparing for a creative performance in such an intensive way and becoming the roles that your casting director has been coaching you to perform can be quite to maintain though in front of everyone you know, so train in this way is a tough exercise and requires a lot of inner strength. Not to mention supportive family and friends who can encourage you to succeed in reaching your goals!
If you are dedicated to your acting training, an Emmy or an Oscar could well be yours!
As a result, the scene becomes a true conversation instead of a rehearsed set of lines.
Listening to your director’s instructions is vital. Photo on VisualHunt
Moreover, any person who watches a performance on-stage or on-screen, including TV shows, soap operas, musicals or films, benefits from being a good listener as taught by an acting course because it allows them to really appreciate the action and get the most from what they are watching.
If you don’t make the effort to appreciate a performance, then you will become a passive listener.
There is a big difference between hearing and listening.
Hearing doesn’t require much effort whilst listening means actively processing details. Even though you may care deeply for the person who is opening up to you, your brain could skip the listening process and jump straight to problem-solving or looking for a solution to make them feel better. However, sometimes people just want a shoulder to cry on and someone to truly hear them.
Educational establishments are aware of the positives that drama classes bring to their pupils and their ability to communicate and interact in other academic lessons on the curriculum.
Acting classes teach you about the discipline of physical movement and expression, which includes helping you to showcase that you are listening as well as helping you to actually listen in a lesson or while you rehearse, as well as on the theatrical stage. This tuition can then influence the way you act in your personal and work life.
During your acting workshop, you will learn about important techniques like posture and body language (such as smiling, making eye contact and nodding your head as nonverbal cues) as well as vocal coaching tips which help you to master the art of timing (i.e. not interrupting, summarising and paraphrasing).
As such, the set of communication skills that you will develop from mastering acting techniques will make you much better in situations whereby you need that little bit of extra charm. For example, if you have a particularly difficult boss, then by improving how you respond to their nonchalant attitude (i.e. smiling and continuing to listen intently to their side of the argument instead of rolling your eyes and sitting back in your chair) can help you to co-exist and even to begin to work much more cooperatively alongside each other.
If you are interested in signing up to a respected acting school, then you can search online for acting courses near you and read testimonials and feedback from those who have studied there and gone on to find success in an acting career or went on to pursue a different avenue.
Other than helping you boost your confidence and improve your communication, acting for film, Broadway or simply for fun focuses the mind. It also provides you with the opportunity to add a dynamic craft to your resume, helps you to reign in your emotion and hone your auditioning and interviewing technique.