Public Speaking –Are you prepared to ACT IT OUT?

This is an AI generated transcript so please forgive any errors and spelling mistakes. 

Hi, it’s Shola here. In this video I have a question for you which is are you prepared to act it out? Now I didn’t say are you prepared to act up and be difficult, but are you prepared to act it out because an act out is a specific tool that we can use in public speaking to add a bit of drama and a bit of life to our presentations.

So I’m going to share with you the act out in just a moment but first let me introduce myself. I’m Shola Kaye, I’m a public speaking coach and a professional international speaker based in London and you are either watching my video blog or you’re listening to my podcast. Either way I welcome you.

A few months ago I was honoured to be asked to be one of the judges at the UK Interuniversity Public Speaking Contest and on that day I got to watch 24 speeches back-to-back. Now, imagine watching that many speeches in a single day for sure you can learn a lot and see a lot of patterns. While I was judging the contest, I was also making a few notes of things to share with my audience because they struck me as been quite interesting and also some good learning points. One of them is this, which is around the accent. Acting out is all about gestures it’s all about re-enacting a scene from your presentation.

Public speaking – poweful reasons to include act outs in your presentation

Why would we include act outs when we present? Well a number of reasons but first of all it adds a bit of drama. It ups the ante so it’s more engaging for the audience. Secondly, you might find that it brings a point home more strongly if you acted out rather than describe it. Thirdly, I think it’s good fun to do it and it can cause a few laughs or it can also make people understand the drama and the implications of a situation much better when they see you’ve acted out on stage rather than again you’re describing it.

On that particular day when I was up there at Warwick University watching all these students with their presentations what struck me the most, and I shared this with other judges and we talked about it – they saw the same thing, was that most of the people doing the act outs were the guys and the women were much less inclined to act out.

Let me give you an example, the very first presentation of the day was a guy who was talking about, I think it was something to do with interpersonal relationships, and during his presentation he acted out an argument where he got offended by something somebody said and he blew up. He got angry and acted out some flouncing out of the room and what he did, we were in a lecture theatre with stairs going up sort of typical lecture theatre with the presentation area which was at, say, crowned level and then you had seating which was at an angle going up and then you had the doors the exits at the top of the room.

So this guy he was pretending to be angry and minnie mad and they said “right, that’s enough I don’t want to hear anymore” and he flounced out of the room, walked up the stairs – boom boom boom boom – bang the door behind him, waited outside for a few seconds, then eventually he came back in. Now, of course, all of us in the audience for that okay this is exciting what’s happening next, and when he came in back in we were laughing and well it had an incredible effect upon us to the extent where months on later I’m here sharing with you. I can’t remember what he was talking about but I certainly remember what he did on stage.

Throughout the course of the day we thought that people were acting out but it was more the guys that were acting out than the women. So I’m not trying to make any pronouncements there that was a very small sample size 25 people 24 so 24 speeches so I’m not trying to say that women don’t act out, but if it’s something you’re thinking of doing certainly whether you’re a guy or girl, whatever go for it! Because it really does add some impact isn’t both but it adds a bit of them to your presentation. If it makes sense to do it.

Public speaking – planning your act outs is key to success

Let’s talk about the act out a little bit more so where when do you decide whether or not you want to add something else what separately not when you’re in the middle of the presentation. Ideally you give yourself some time. You’re well prepared you go through your presentation and you think “well, where can I do an accent? I could see one here, there’s a conversation between me and so, so let’s put one in here or mmm this moment here is a very dramatic moment… I’ll add an account at this stage”.

So acting out also forces you to analyse your presentation your speech a little bit more deeply so that you can choose the right moments so it has a multiple benefits for both you as a speaker and for your audience and of course for your message which is driven home a bit further in a bit harder by you adding this extra energy. It’s kind of extra underlining of this particular point by acting it out.

Let me give you another example, when I give presentations in particular when I speak in the corporate world, I will tend to share my background as a speaker and how I came to speaking. One of the stories I typically tell is of the day that I got fired – or however you want to refer to it – the day that my contract wasn’t renewed at a job that I was in at the time. I

act out the moment that I learned this bad news and I share that others in the boardroom at the company I was working at. At the time I was summoned in and asked to sit down on this black leather sofa and then I act out what happened in that conversation.

Typically, that act out will elicit sometimes it’s sympathy from the audience sometimes it’s a few laughs. I don’t mind, you know? I wouldn’t share it if I wasn’t prepared to be laughed at. It diffuses a lot of tension in the room where people are thinking with who’s she? What’s going on? What’s the nature of this talk? What’s the energy gonna be like? And then, when I’m there doing this little act out people see “oh she doesn’t take herself too seriously, we’re gonna have a bit of fun here” so it serves several purposes.

Public speaking – practical tips to make them part of your presentation

I want you to think about when and where you can act out in your next presentation take some time go through it. Think about what you could act out, what are the implications for you the audience, why would you do it, what feelings you want to display around the act out – it could be a conversation, it could be a reaction of various things that you could act out.

But go for it because your audience will thank you for it you’ll be injecting life you’ll be injecting some more energy and emotion and I’ve never seen an act out that as long as you rehearse it a little bit I’ve never seen an act out that is not well received. Let me give you another example, in this contest there was a guy who was talking about charitable giving and he did an act out of somebody on the street who was begging for money and it was extremely powerful extremely powerful he got everybody silent we all leaned in because we were really interested. He really drove home the point that he was trying to make. If you are trying to drive home a point to your audience, why not select the accounts as at all to make that happen?

So that’s it from me, but next time you’re ready to speak and you’ve got your presentation all planned out I want you to take an extra moment go through it and think about where you can act out because it’s good for you, it’s good for your message and it’s good for your audience!

That’s it from me today, and I hope that you enjoyed this short video. If you did then why not join me my next live online event? Wherever you are you can join me for because it’s done online so you can be at your computer I can be at mine and we can still share a bit of time together.  If you go to you’ll see the details of the next event. If there isn’t one planned, it might share with you my masterclass. It’s free and on-demand so you can watch that instead. But it would be fantastic to get on to a live event with you because that’s what I really love being with people in real time and sharing tips and tricks with them so hope to see you on a live event. If not that, please do tune in to my next video or to my next podcast and remember: don’t act up, act out!

Take care, bye.


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