By Madeline Rostmeyer, NYU Tisch Drama Class of 2023
As a student in my second year of acting training, I spend the majority of my time trying to communicate ideas, feelings, and stories to an audience who doesn’t know me or my character. The skill of communication isn’t something I only use in my acting training, however. It is a skill that I use consistently throughout my daily life. Whether I’m emailing a professor, speaking in a meeting with my manager at work, or simply texting my peers, I am in a constant state of communication. I firmly believe that communication is the starting point for all other Violet Ready Skills, and that is why I decided to focus on it for my blog post!
Here are 3 tips that I find most helpful when it comes to being a good communicator:
- Confidence is key
When communicating to a large audience or a group of high authority, it can be hard to feel confident in what you are saying. However, this is one of the most important parts in effectively communicating. Ideas are more appealing and exciting when the speaker appears to value them as well. Apologizing for your ideas may lead others to believe they are not worthy of their time, which is never the case. While confidence is hard to pin down, especially when anxiety and adrenaline are running rampant, the best way to get there is to be prepared. If you’re speaking in person, practice by yourself or in front of friends so you know exactly what to say. If writing a proposal, proof read multiple times and include any and all sources needed.
- Be an active listener
While being able to articulate your ideas in a clear manner is one part of the equation, it’s important to remember that the other half of communication is listening. It is so much easier to know what to say and how to say it if you have paid attention to your colleague’s ideas, tones, and questions. We are constantly told in acting classes that listening to your scene partner is the key to a good scene; it informs how you react and push forward the story. The same goes for daily communication. You’ll be able to match tone, clear up misunderstandings, and get through the plan quicker if you actively listen and attempt to understand their point of view.
- Never be afraid to ask questions
If you’re successful in being an active listener, chances are you will end up with some questions about what your colleague is talking about. While this may seem like a setback, I assure you that it is not! Questions mean you have been attentive enough to notice the missing pieces in whatever thought has been communicated to you and asking those questions shows others you care. It also allows you and your colleagues to get a full understanding of what is being communicated and that is never a bad thing.
These are the ways I like to hone my communication skills but there are tons of others out there! Head over to the Become Violet Ready webpage for more resources on how to sharpen your communication and other Violet Ready skills.