The Principles of Performance
So the reason that we believe we can help you see the world this way and experience the world this way is because of our training as actors. So most of you know of my exploits in the world of business. But as chris said at the beginning, I was an actor as was Amy. We were actually both in graduate school at the same time at different schools. Amy was at the Yale School of Drama getting her masters while I was at the N. Y. U. Graduate Acting Program. Getting my masters. Now I applied to both Yale and y you didn't get into Yale. Amy applied to both Yale and and got into both. So this is still a little point of contention here. But you're bad. I am bad. If we can move away from the idea of speaking and towards performing and use what the actor knows about performing, then maybe we can create experiences for people that are much bigger, more dynamic than just a speech. So here's the thing that happens that we want to share a little bit with you about what happens in uh in an M. F. A. Actin...
g program. The two of us spent three years, six days a week from eight in the morning till 11 o'clock at night doing the kinds of things that are not the big glamorous performances, doing voice training, everyday speech training, everyday movement training every day, clowning, stage fighting scene, study, dramaturgy Shakespeare, checkoff Mamet, you know, just day in, day out, in the classroom, in the student rehearsal studio and then yes, in performance and that we would love to be able to give you in eight segments, you know? And truthfully, the voice work every day for three years makes a huge difference. There's no doubt about it. When Michael and I first met, Can I tell this story when Michael and I first met? I don't know, he overheard me talking to somebody and came over and said, you're an actor and I had a moment. But here's the thing, we were not in new york, we were not actors. Uh Amy's son and my son went to the same school at the time and I was just passing by and this is out in Bucks county pennsylvania, There's not a big, you know, acting scene out there, so there's no reason that she would be an actor. But I heard her voice, I said, are you an actor? She goes, yes, I said, where'd you train? She said, yeah, I said I went down well you when you go and we weren't at the same time, who was your agent? You have the same agent in new york, you know, and we don't remember seeing each other, but it's likely we were probably on auditions together because we'd be playing the kinds of roles that would play opposite each other. So it's all that study, it's all that study that gives you the background and what we want to give you is the tools that make a difference quickly. But then also so that you have some tools that you can go away with and keep working with, you know, because it does evolve over time. We'll be looking for some nice fun aha moments, but also know that it's what happens over time. We have done enough voice work over hours and hours and hours that we, we hopefully know what we can give you, that will help you, point you in the right direction and it'll never be perfect. Yes, it will never be perfect, We're away, not perfect. So the principles of performance that the actor knows that the professional speaker or the amateur speaker or anybody trying to create any kind of performance Anywhere knows, are the following seven. How many? That was terrible. How many good The first is say yes and Mhm. Write it down or not. You're gonna know this. You don't need to write this stuff down. Trust me, you're gonna know this because we connect because you go, I get it. I've been saying yes for, you know, eight segments for eight hours. I've been saying yes, I think I get the principle by the end. So, yes. And if we're doing an improv, so an improv, often the performers don't performers don't know what the other performers gonna give them, they might have a structure, but they don't know what's coming. So let's say I AMy's on stage and I come in and there's an audience here and I come in like this, I think I broke my leg. No, you didn't. It's over, it's done. She said no, I go, oh, okay, go back, it's over. But if I come in I go, I think I broke my leg. You did, Your hair looks great. Thank you. I actually just got a cut. Did you? Is that where you hurt your leg? And now we can go on. You know, something can happen because she said yes, doesn't mean that the moment is going to be perfect and it's going to land. No, but you can keep going until you find what works, because you say yes. And plus it also again makes it safe. It's we're right back to our ground rules in here. It has to be a safe space. Once we know that we're safe and the people around us are going to work with us rather than against us, that's where we can do our best work. And here's how it applies when you're giving a speech. And if you have an audience, I saw a speaker very well known speaker, big shot speaker Get asked a question in a room that probably had 1000 people in it. And someone asked a question and the speaker laid into this person because he didn't like the way the question was phrased. But it was a question that I think many people in that room had. So instead of saying yes, I really hear what you're saying, we might also think about it like this. He said no, that's a stupid question. Now. Of course you're never going to do that. But it's a great example of what no does. So we say yes and yes. And we could also try this. Yes, and we could try this when we're rehearsing when we're writing our speeches. We don't no no no that won't work. No that won't work. No that won't work. Yes. Haven't we tried this. Uh One of my keynote is called the Think Big Revolution. And Amy directed me in it and I had this idea for demonstrating The whole concept of being comfortable with discomfort. So I thought why don't I wear a pair of 6" heels? Read read like we're talking like six inch heels, you know like this? I thought that would be really great and he's like okay, you could yeah, yeah, great try it. It didn't actually work, but it brought us to a place that worked because I was willing to say I'll walk around in heels. So that's saying yes. The second principle amy and principle is listen what? Listen, listening, because if you don't hear what's being said to you, then you can't respond in the moment, which is the third principle. So when you're on stage by yourself giving a speech different than if you have other performers with you on stage, but you are listening in every single moment to what's going on in the eyes, in the body language, that's the thing, the audience becomes the actor that you're working with. And it's one of these great directly applicable ways. We're used to working with each other. We're used to working with other bodies, other people. But so are you, You know, that's what you do. And so when you're performing, connect with the people. Look for the eyes, you're creating a physical connection with each person in the room in the moment. So number one, you say yes, and number two, you listen. Number three, you stay in the moment. Number four work with actors who have your back work with performers that have your back. It's one of the bottom line rules of being an actor. If an actor doesn't have another actor's back, it's not going to work. So what does that mean for you? You've got to set up a dynamic where you have their back and they have your back. You see how this applies to speaking, say yes, if you see good. So number one, what is it? Yes, yes. And number two, number three, number three, number four, play with performers that have your back. Good. So what's one? Number two? Number three, number four play with performers that have your back. It's hard to say in unison. Number five take big risks. Watching a performer that doesn't take risks is boring. Safety on stage is boring. How about talking about, you know, if you're flying with rigging or you're having a sword fight, not that kind of safety that's necessary to be safe there. But if the performer is playing everything safe, they'll push to the edge. They don't go all the way it's boring. So conflict is a big part of what makes something exciting. So there needs to be conflict in every single presentation. So what's number 1? Yes. Number two, number three, number four, Number five, # six, choose early and off. Excuse me, I had a big burrito so you have to use everything that exists. There's a noise back there, There's a drill. I don't know if they can hear it at home, but we heard it here. And if you don't acknowledge it, it's a little weird, it's uncomfortable. And so he's making a choice, he's making a choice. Now. He's not saying this is the perfect choice, but it may be, but it's a choice rather than just keeping things very bland or safe. Or sometimes we think we have to be professional in a certain way. And as you watch, you know, Michael's up here and he's talking to you and he's using his body and he's using his voice and he's very engaged. It's an art. So it's not saying that has to be your style. Get up there and get like, physical and all of that, right? But make a shit. It's like a Connecticut. That's right. Make a choice, do something. And if you can do that in the rehearsal and make the choices early, then you can see what's working and what isn't because there will always be things that don't work. So what's one, number two, number three, number four, number five, number six and number seven, which is probably the most important come into your light is when, when you get scared, you look each other in the eye. So when you're an actor and you're on stage and you're scared, you look into your partner's eye and you'll settle down and you'll find what you need to find there. And that's what will happen when you're up here. If you have those moments, Shannon, I think you said you're nervous about being up here and losing where you are. Our tendency when we lose where we are, is to go, uh, I'm gonna panic, I'm gonna be like a deer in the headlights and to close off. But what the performer noses, you stay with the people you're engaged with, stay with the eyes of your partner as they are here in the audience and it will come to you whatever is next for you to say, well, come. So we stay here. And of course you can turn it into a brilliant moment. He does this. So here's what happened, you're doing your speech, you all right? But you talk about this section and then you finish like, oh no, I forgot where I was going to go. So you finish now, it comes back to and you keep going. But you make it a moment, you just keep this moment we're connected. Meanwhile, what I'm doing is thinking, oh, well, as I going to say next, but you stay connected and you will find it because when you are in this conversation with an audience, their eyes will tell you where you just were. Yeah, you see. So that's why when you get scared, you stay with them, you don't disconnect from them, you stay with. So now we know the seven principles of performance, what are they? No one, Number two, Number three, Stay in the moment. Number four, Number five, Number six. Number seven. Oh, God, I don't even know what number seven was for. No one. What's number seven When you get scared? Look in somebody's eyes. When you get scared, look in someone's eyes. Did you need to write any of that down to remember it? Maybe if you did. But now let's learn more about them.