Motivational Speaker And Actor On How to Sound Spontaneous

linda_larsen_motivational_speaker_Bill_.jpgYes, I am a motivational speaker now, but for over twenty-five years I was a professional card-carrying actor in film, television and on stages throughout the U.S. As an actor, it was my job to make my words sound as if I was saying them for the very first time – even when, in the case of a live stage production, it was the 100th time I'd said them. How does that happen? How do actors do that? When you, as an audience member, attend a live show, what makes you suspend your disbelief and go full tilt boogie into the world that is laid before you on the stage?  

Wouldn't you want to know how to do that? Whatever THAT is? When you have to give any kind of a presentation to any group, small or large, wouldn't you want it to sound like you are saying those words for the very first time? As if they are occuring to you right then in that moment?  Wouldn't you want them to sound so authentic and real and engaging that the people listening are totally engaged? 

I found an article published recently in tdfSTAGES about the current stage production of the Pulitzer Prize winning play, Flick, by Annie Baker, that addresses this very thing. In it we learn what one of the lead actors, Matthew Maher, says he must do in order to make his performance appear so spontaneous and real. Click here to read This Play Is So Realistic, It Must Be Fake.





Motivational Speaker Linda Larsen, CSP has been described by meeting planners and audiences as "hysterically funny," and "riveting." Known for her ability to connect on an authentic and emotional level with audiences, her spontaneous sense of humor, and her engaging and powerful stories, Linda is passionate about sharing ideas to help people live their finest, best, and most productive lives. Her riveting and true story of being kidnapped and held hostage at gunpoint by an escaped convict, and the strategies she used to escape, will give people the tools THEY need to rise above any of life's toughest challenges, to communicate more effectively with THEIR difficult person, and to find creative solutions to THEIR problems. To book motivational speaker, Linda Larsen: 941-927-4700

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  1. Hey Linda – I read that article and now I want to go see the play!  So, is he saying every single time it's exactly the same, or is he saying he leaves room for being in the moment?  Or both? I think we as speakers can learn a lot from stage actors.  Thanks!

  2. GREAT question Marilyn! What I believe he is saying (and certainly what I believe) is that every moment is so planned, so rehearsed, so specific that in performance, you are given the freedom to pay very very close attention to what is happening in each and every moment. You are then free to "respond", truthfully to what you get from the other actors, etc. You don't have to be thinking, "Oh what's my next line? Or where am I supposed to cross to above the sofa?" You've got all that down. It's automatic. If you trip over the rug moving to another part of the stage, during the performance, it won't throw you. You don't have to pretend like it didn't happen. You will, as my master acting teach used to say, "Use it! Use everything! Deny nothing!" So for us, as motivational speakers, it means that we know our jokes, we know when we pause, we know our lines, what stories we can pop in if we given last minute extra time. And then, we get up on that stage and be totally responsive to..(and here's where it gets a little complex) not only the audience, but to what's going on in YOUR head! With YOU! With how you are feeling!  Okay – in terms of responsive to the audience: If one person in my audience laughs out loud at a line I say, in a place that I uusually no one else has ever laughed, I will USE that! I will quickly look at her and say something funny, "SOUL SISTER!!!!!" "Oh my god, you know my husband!!!" Something. I don't deny this weird one laughing person. So, unlike the actor who can't adlib lines like that, WE can!!! And in terms of paying attention to what's going on in my head…. Well, (like you also, I think) I spend a good deal of time right before I speak consciously putting myself into a very very really really happy state. So if I've done a good job at that, then when I'm saying something funny up on stage, it may occur PARTICULARLY funny to me in that moment! So if I feel the need to allow myself to laugh at it also, in a bigger way than normal, I do!  So all this is a VERY long way of saying, I think…both. Ha ha. As my husband would say, "Sooooooo many words…"

  3. I can always learn something from outstanding motivational speakers, and so happy I waited to post so I could learn even more from you, Linda. Hoping to have the privlege of seeing you in a future play…to learn even more.

  4. Yes, I needed your clarification to Marilyn's question as well.  And clarify it you did!  I dream of a day (and am working VERY hard at it now) when I have it all so nailed down that I can float free in the moment to "use everything, deny nothing". Love this!

  5. Yes, I agree Polly – that's a great line from Linda's acting coach "Use everything, deny nothing." Great post.

  6. I LOVED this article, Linda. And the comments that followed. Brilliant.  I'm still a little muddy on HOW to do it.  But maybe it's a state of consciousness more than anything.  I do try to feel like I'm in that moment for the first time. And your teaching at our keynote camp about making it conversational was life-changing. We are having a conversation – even when they don't say a word or even give us a physical conversation to react to. We react to an unspoken commentary.  That's what makes it so real to our audience because we react to their blank stare with an answer. Hard to explain, But when you understand it everything changes.

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