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Action Before Speech

99% of the time when actors or presenters keep still or remain glued to the floor when speaking, do you notice how wooden they sound? You must have seen this a great deal in badly staged Shakespearean productions, on presenter based channels, on the news and in Soap Operas with lots of fixed camera shots. It’s awful. And they are boring. But luckily the problem is so easy to fix. All you need to do is what normal human beings do when they speak. Move. All these wooden performances need to bring them back to life is gesture. The actors simply need to express themselves physically before they speak, just as the characters would do if they were actually real live people. It really is that simple. Isn’t that part of why reality TV is so popular? Because the characters are actually real, and do real things, and look real and SOUND real, and they communicate in a real way! Their speech is triggered, physically inhabited and then, and only then, expressed as actual speech.

Think about the following – when you ask someone a question that requires a yes or no type response, you will always see them nodding or indicating their response before they speak it. In fact, there is not a thing we say in life without gesturing the idea in some way before we speak it. Every thought we have receives this treatment. It’s almost as if our bodies need to give each thought life so that our mouths can commit to the thoughts and speak them.

So when acting or presenting, remember – action (in reaction to your thoughts) before speech! It’ll solve a lot of your problems.

© Donald Woodburn

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