A Comparison to Speech and Acting

January 11, 2011 at 8:02 pm Leave a comment

Ever since starting this class I have been learning quite a bit about what it means to really be a speaker. I have been an actor for many years now and can easily see a comparison between acting and giving a speech, however, there is something about speaking that makes even a seasoned actor get sick before a speech.

I have often thought about why they would be so different, and it finally occurred to me as we learned that speech skills are much akin to conversation skills. The differences between speaking and simply conversing are the delivery and the formality. When talking to a friend you are usually at ease with the situation as you discuss things that comfort you and use everyday expressions. Yet, we know that when giving a speech you may not feel as at ease about the audience (although I hope that the subject is fairly comfortable to the speaker), and obviously the speaker will not use typical slang expressions either. It occurred to me that the same applies to speaking and acting.

I had to give a 2 minute speech last year at the State Beta Convention. While I had been well prepared for it, I was still sick at the thought of speaking before hundreds of people, despite giving production performances in front of just as many if not more. Once into it, I lost my stage fright as we call it and felt fairly comfortable with the audience. However, it was very clear that this was not my theatre stage. So it is safe to say there are a few differences to them.

As I mentioned before about the delivery, the same applies to theatre. On stage you are in character and can hide yourself within that character, whereas in a speech you are speaking as yourself. There is also the difference in structure. While a play tells a story, a speech may fulfill a lot of other purposes and is most often used to inform. Most importantly I feel (going back to the delivery concept) is that on the stage you are working with other actors and typically get to look at them (however you may occasionally work with the audience) whereas in the presentation of a speech it is all you and the audience. I think this fact scares more people than anything else.

So while it intimidates most people to speak, I do feel that acting will have helped me a bit in the way of stage fright, but I also know that this experience will build my confidence not only for the stage, but for life.

Carrie

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Entry filed under: public speaking, Public Speaking Delivery, Public Speaking Tips, Reflecting on Experience, Uncategorized. Tags: , .

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