Acting Skills Workshop
What’s the difference between a stage actor reciting Shakespeare and an actuary giving a
presentation? “Not much,” says veteran stage actor, Dave Ferrie. In a workshop entitled “Using
Acting Skills to Improve Your Presentation” during the 2006 Spring Health Meeting, Ferrie
enumerated the many similarities between the two.
He revealed how actors, as well as presenters, must tell a story that their audience cares about. By
deconstructing the technique of acting, he showed that actors and presenters have the same
obstacles to success. Those hurdles include finding the right persona within yourself, rehearsal
and, of course, stage fright.
Breathing techniques were covered for both relaxation and for effective vocal production. Speech,
including articulation, rhythm, pause and climax, as well as tone and tunefulness, proved to be
vitally important. Ferrie showed how body placement and movement are essential for effective
presentations. He covered rhythm, body awareness, balance and feel. He revealed little tricks on
body position in relation to the audience and what to do with your hands.
While nobody was doing soliloquies after the workshop, most did receive assurance that
improving one’s presentation skills matters greatly for one’s professional image. And, we found, it
isn’t as hard to achieve as we thought.
Acting Tips from Dave Ferrie:
Acting is deliberate selfexpression; it is communication utilizing a range of behavior.
Stage fright: Get over it through relaxation exercises, but just do it. Commit to the
Listen and learn from others. Pay attention to their nuances. Record yourself.
Relax your voice, articulate your words and make sure you can be heard.
Use rhythm, pause and climax within each subtopic.
Default to emphasizing verbs unless you specifically want to emphasize another word in
Use tone and tune to color your speech.
Place your body with your audience in mind.
Use your body to help communicate