Everything I need to know about business I learned backstage.
All of my coaches are performance professionals. Actors bring unique skills to the table that are surprisingly well adapted, and directly transferrable to, the corporate world. And you don't have to do silly improv games, "pass the energy ball", or wear a funny hat to access them.
Performers have many skills that cross over into the business world and can help people in the corporate sector up their game. Plus we make darned versatile, entertaining, engaging, and emotionally intelligent coaches!
Executive presence and influencing and emotional intelligence, oh my!
Theater performers generally have an instinctual love of the spotlight, but in order to hone that love into actual skills, we go through rigorous and extensive training.
We discipline our bodies and voices into neutrality, managing our natural quirks and habits; we then train our bodies to take on the character of our choosing so we can tell the story of the play or movie as fully as possible. We learn to extend our vocal range and learn techniques to project over a crowd and to the back of the house, with good diction so all we say is clear...in any dialect. Which means we can sometimes help your global team with clearer enunciation and accent modification. And we learn, by necessity, to manage stage fright. All of this is presentation skills 101.
We study the elements of human psychology that make characters in scripts want what they want. We use "tactics" and "actions" to influence our scene partner. We're great active listeners because you have to focus on, and really hear, your partner to get clues on how to move the scene forward. Plus we're pros at getting people to give us stuff...like wine donations for concessions, free space for our fundraiser, and "Hey, I know you want to come and sell tickets for us, right?" When you're trying to get buy-in from a C-Level manager, or deal with a difficult conversation with a direct report, wouldn't you like some extra insight into knowing what they want, and how to give it to them so they give you what YOU want?
This deep study of the human condition also leads to a "Spidey Sense" when it comes to peoples triggers and needs, which equals an elevated emotional intelligence. We have a knack for knowing what's going on beneath the surface, and how we need to address an individual to help them move out of negative feelings. And it's a professional necessity to manage our own feelings. You can be down, depressed, sick, tired, or in pain, but if your character is a clown you pull yourself together and laugh it up. Did you see Tom Cruise break his ankle and then continue running to get the shot? It's horrible. Don't watch it. Ok, fine. Here's a link.
Performers are flexible, creative thinkers, natural team builders, and instinctual coaches.
Our specialized training opens our minds and makes us the quintessential "out of the box" thinkers. We are taught to commit fully to creative choices, and to say "Yes, and..." to any situation. We are constantly making choices and decisions based on the situation and challenges at hand. We rarely have the things we dreamed of when it comes to space, and we're adjusting to our surroundings constantly. You needed a rotating floor, a real spotlight, and a fog machine, but you got a gym floor, a flashlight, and a bubble machine. You make work. A piece of the set falls on the floor? You make it work. The audience heckles you? You make it work. This makes us unflappable and flexible, so when a client tells us the LCD projector is broken, our conference room is booked, and we have 30 people more than expected, we say, "Got a flip chart, a hallway, and some extra chairs?"
Great actors see the world as one big team. As I said, the show must go on, and generally even the biggest diva will grab a paint brush if the curtain is about to rise and the set isn't finished. We rarely say, "That's not my job..." but rather enter each situation with the question, "How can I help?" We bring a contagious in-it-together attitude and energy. We're natural directors and teachers, having been taught to TAKE direction, we understand the nuances people need to hear to make choices that serve them as individuals, and we do it efficiently. We're used to having limited time to make adjustments, and we can teach you to make adjustments fast as well, which saves you time and money.
At Red Leaf we have translated these performance skills into business language and exercises that are concrete, versatile, and transferrable to all areas of your business. We help our clients, elevate their personal brand and executive presence, manage people with empathy, make physical and vocal choices rather then falling back on habits, influence others, and generally bring enjoyment and humanity into businesses through opening their minds to the "Yes, and..."
And we can do it without the artsy stuff that can potentially put corporate professionals off. Unless you really want to discover your inner animal and build a human machine. We can do that too.