I would strongly suggest if you haven’t already read my previous post on COMMUNICATION, READ IT NOW before continuing on with this read. Each topic we address has a STRATEGIC BUILD from its foundation, up! It’s also important to do the communication exercises. Everything works together. When you jump around out of order, you don’t necessarily gain the same benefits from the study.
OK, by now, you should have a pretty good idea of BAD, GOOD as well as HIGHLY EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION. But just to re-cap… here’s a brief bullet list review.
- We tend to talk more than we listen (one mouth)
- We should listen more than we talk (two ears)
- Poor Communicators have a strong need to be in control (or to disappear)
- Excellent Communicators find the balance in the conversation
- We communicate with more than just our words
- Non-Verbal or (Sub-Text)
- Body Language
- Feelings or Sensing (Intuition)
- The Clothes We Wear
- Smells (Delightful Fragrances or Bad Hygiene)
- Even Tastes (S/he left a bad taste in my mouth)
OBSERVATION is KEY for understanding what works, what doesn’t and why. You need not only PARTICIPATE in your conversations, but you must also make an effort to PAY ATTENTION to what type of conversation you’re in while you’re in it. Being able to make the necessary ADJUSTMENTS in each conversation is key to gaining the most from the interaction.
At the end of the day… most communication is FUNCTIONAL at best. That’s how life rolls… or doesn’t roll… and life would roll so much better if the world’s communication were better. As ACTORS, we are LIFE’S PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATORS! We are the STORY TELLERS of the WORLD! And, we need to be very good at it in order to tell life’s stories correctly and effectively.
There is a significant difference between ACTING LIFE and REAL LIFE. In real life, we just go in the moment and communicate out of who we are. In acting life, the actor uses SOMEONE ELSE’S words to communicate. Trusting that the WRITER/WRITING is good… we must first STUDY it so that we properly understand what the WRITING/WRITER IS SAYING and how the writer has chosen to communicate through their CHARACTERS. The better we understand this, the better we portray what is know as WRITERS INTENT! Understanding what the writer has intended for each scene and character is CRUCIAL for the actor’s success and ultimately the success of the SCENE!
As a PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATOR myself, having studied this field and craft for more than half my entire life… I’ve come to my own DETERMINATIONS about HIGHLY EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION. And here it is:
Communication is meant to create ONENESS! For communication to be highly effective, there is a need for each member of the conversation to SURRENDER a part of themselves to the LIFE OF THE CONVERSATION. Effective communication is not about SELF. And it’s not about complete SURRENDER TO THE OTHER PERSON either… It’s about finding the BALANCE IN THE MIDDLE. It’s a GIVE AND TAKE. It’s FOLLOWING THE FOLLOWER… It’s BIRDS IN FLIGHT!
The more keen and aware you are — the more practiced you become — the more you work it out in VARIOUS SITUATIONS… the better a communicator you’ll be.
THE ARTISTS FREEWAY – [Your free weekly exercise]
1 – Don’t just get caught up in your conversations. Make a point of becoming the observer first. Once you’ve taken a bit of time and you’ve had the opportunity to understand just what type of communicators you’re conversing with — do your best to practice finding the balance in the conversation. So, if someone is taking over the dialog, you must practice balancing them out. Cut them off if need be. If another is just listening and not jumping in, pull them in by asking questions and turning the dialog back on to them.
Experiment with this in different conversations and make note of your observations.
2 – When reading copy, scripts, sides — place a bit more attention on what type or style of communication is going on. Try finding different scenes with very different types of dialog. Watch for the pacing, rhythm and tempo. Think of it as finding the DANCE of the scene if you will.