(excerpts from an interview by Jame Lipton on INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO)
Hugh Jackman’s deeply insightful observations about acting skills are eye openers for speakers and are considered the best kept secrets for successful personal and public communication.
These are the key ingredients known to all great speakers and they got there by using acting skills, whether they took acting training or not.
I truly believe that the job of an actor and the drive of an actor is stimulating the internal journey in life which is to get deeper and deeper into our understanding of who we are and that actually through acting and through releasing and breathing and through CONNECTING with other actors and allowing yourself and the story to connect to the audience, something greater happens.
He continues about being open and connecting to the human nature in all of us through acting skills.
Everybody should do this – acting training – BREATHING – if you’re not doing it right, you’re not open and you’re emotions aren’t open. You’re not going to live as full a life. Simple.
The things you learn as an actor about LISTENING, about BEING PRESENT and who you are, about human nature.
Hugh Jackman goes on to talk about the very nature of communication and how it begins with the deep understanding we have of ourselves and therefore of each other. He talks about connecting to the audience and what we all have in common – our hopes and dreams. If we can connect to that, if we can share that when we speak, we have it all.
If we understand we are here to help each other, we come from a place of giving. If we really have a gift that will make a difference in our audience’s world, and we share it from this place, be it a better system for their internal audits or a new management approach or a widget that produces a better product, it will be embraced.
Do you believe you have a gift to give to others or are you just selling something you don’t care about? Every actor knows that your audience and your fellow actors can always read the subtext. The truth will seep through eventually. The reward is in making a difference and making a living. Both can be done to the advantage of your clients and to feeling your life has worth and meaning and that you are part of the solution.
Hugh Jackman continues further along in the interview to talk about how to be a great actor and I add how to be a great person, – a great contributor to life, yours and others. He says to take risks.
Being able to make a fool of yourself. I’m not talking about clowning. I’m talking about really falling down, dying on stage, having a horrible night, being terrible in a role or whatever it is. Unless you are willing to embrace that possibility you’ll never get to the top.
When taking a risk, be prepared to completely fail… this will open so many parts in you.
I think everyone should learn it. Acting training is really about BEING AWAKE. And one of the greatest roadblocks to a relationship is how easily we take things for granted. It’s easy to be asleep. And the relationship with the audience is part of your ability to connect to them so that you can deliver your gift. Your have to be awake, present, and listening, in order to connect. On stage every night it has to be for the first time.
And I would add it has to be for the first time whenever you speak in front of an audience, even though you’ve done the same speech a thousand times. Acting skills teach that. And it’s not a bad idea to approach each person in your life anew as if they might have changed, grown, and you might have too.
I’ll be giving short exercises to help you with CONNECTING, LISTENING, BEING PRESENT, and BREATHING so you can take advantage of these tools. I’m starting with BREATHING – see the post SIDEBAR:Breathing below.