Speaking Lessons

Sir Anthony Hopkins. A great actor with great speaking lessons to impart

Everyone needs a good role model, right? Watching the best in their field, and learning from them, is a proven route to success. And the same is true when it comes to public speaking skills and becoming great public speakers. Here we take a quick look at five of the best from the world of acting: Anthony Hopkins, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, John Hurt & Benedict Cumberbatch.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

So, what do they all have in common?

Of course, there are several things.

Yes, they are all British.

Yes, all male.

Yes, all accomplished actors.

Yes, all did their time on stage before making it on screen.

Knighthoods? Well, several of them do have one under their belt.

But here’s what I think is one of the most important things to focus on with this quintet: they are all phenomenally good public speakers!

Now you might think that this is a given; they are trained actors after all.

Sadly, though, that is not so. There is many an actor who can deliver a fine performance on screen or even on stage but when they have to stand up in front of an audience they don’t do so well.

So what are the public speaking strengths that Hopkins, Stewart, McKellen, Hurt and Cumberbatch (henceforth known—to me at any rate!—as The Fab Five) all demonstrate when they get on stage?

Great Actors Public Speaking Skills, 1: They Possess Great Commitment and Clarity

I can almost guarantee,  that you could hand any of these guys a restaurant menu to read, and they would render you spellbound in seconds! How?  Well, it is all down to commitment to the line or message that they are delivering combined with clear and articulate delivery of it. Throughout they remain connected and committed to every word they speak, giving each word appropriate time and appropriate weight. As an audience you cannot help but listen and stay connected.

Great Actors Public Speaking Skills, 2: They Have a Natural Flow

With each, you get the sense that they are exactly the same person on stage and off. There is an honest, natural flow to their delivery.

Great Actors Public Speaking Skills, 3: They Use Pace to Great Effect

They all have great use of pace. They know when to keep it slow and measured, bringing life and vibrancy through great use of pitch. There is no rushing, no great urgency.

Great Actors Public Speaking Skills, 4: They Let You Know They Are Ultra-Present

Did you ever listen to someone giving an interview or doing a speech and you sense that they are not really there, but that they are thinking ahead about what they are going to do or say next. The Fab Five are always present,  always in the moment, whether they are on stage, on camera or standing at a podium

These guys make it seem so easy that you could be forgiven for thinking that it is all down to natural ability. The truth is that most of it is down to hard graft – many hours spent preparing, planning & rehearsing. A comforting thought as it means that there is hope for us all!

Another Actor With a Masterful Voice

To finish, a little fun! 🙂

Check out this clip from The Lego Movie. Morgan Freeman, perhaps the American equivalent of our five British friends, jokes that he could read the phone book and make it sound interesting. It is true! So too with The Fab Five…

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ConfidentSpeak is a specialist S.T.E.M Communications & Coaching Consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives at home and abroad. Contact us for details on our range of  corporate/private programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals.