Act Natural

Act Natural

How to Speak to Any Audience

Book - 2003
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Random House, Inc.
Drawing from courses he taught at Harvard and from his own distinguished career as a performer, Ken Howard demonstrates how we all can become more effective public speakers and communicators by learning how actors prepare for their roles.

Why is it that some actors are more impressive on stage or screen than others--even when they’re doing nothing? "Because," says Ken Howard, "they don’t seem to be acting; they appear real, as if they’re making up the dialogue as they go along." In fact, they’re acting like mad. According to Howard, currently starring in the NBC hit show Crossing Jordan, we can all appear more relaxed, confident, and spontaneous when we step into the limelight--whether for a speech, a presentation, a job interview, or before the PTA--by learning to act natural. Based on courses he taught to Harvard undergraduates and law students on applying Method acting techniques to public speaking, Act Natural demonstrates how we all play different roles in everyday life--as bosses and employees, buyers and sellers, spouses and children, teachers and students. Howard shows how we can sell our message and ourselves--not by "faking it," but by preparing hard and long to bring our best selves into the various roles we are asked to play.

In Act Natural, Howard explains why performance anxiety is not only normal, but is what fuels great performances; he shows how we can improve our memory and prepare to deliver speeches and other long presentations without notes. The ability to move an audience is something that good actors share with all great communicators, and Howard teaches us how to step in front of people and--just like De Niro or Pacino--create real emotion that will move an audience to tears or laughter. He brings his lessons to life with stories from his own career and from the experiences of other well-known actors. Whenever we’re not alone, we are all performers and public speakers. Act Natural helps us make the most of it.

Baker & Taylor
Offers advice on how to act natural and appear more relaxed, confident, and spontaneous when communicating by applying techniques used by actors to the task of public speaking.

Publisher: New York : Random House, c2003
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780375507366
Characteristics: 310 p. ; 22 cm


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Jul 19, 2012

This is a great book for anyone interested in improving their public speaking. It covers a lot of the usual ground (think about your audience, use stories), but the author integrates many lessons he has learned as a professional and stage actor. Speaking is, after all, a type of performing, so I appreciated learning how actors tap into their emotions to help their performance.


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