Patrick shares some advice following an interview he recently did with Backstage and provides insight about how to confidently share your message with an audience using the BAR method.
Hello everybody, I was interviewed by Backstage. For those of you who are not actors or in the entertainment industry, Backstage is a magazine that is focused on people who are in the film industry or in the performing arts, and it talks about jobs, casting notices and it gives great career advice. So the question they asked me to address, I'll find my notes here, let's see, the question was: How do you make your voice more confident in the audition room, or on stage? Well, that's a great question and I really love the way the article came out, I've included a link to the article if you'd like to read it. I thought this would be a great opportunity to share with you my thoughts on that, and how you can sound confident in any situation. This is what I talked about for actors, and as you are thinking about giving a speech, a presentation, leading a meeting, you can take some of these tips into that. So what I said for actors is, what's going to make you sound, feel and be confident in the room is preparation. Prepare for your audition, prepare for the role. Non-actors, prepare for that talk.
Now, actors have the advantage of having lines. So, as an actor, learn your lines inside and out. Make them your friend. Do your actor's homework and know what's happening in the scene, what your character wants or you who are going to give a speech, think about what it is that you want to share - what is your message? What is your intention for the audience? Start by daily voice and speech workouts. It only has to be a few minutes per day - simple things like yawn, stretch, resonate your voice. Do tongue twisters, work on centering yourself. Do yoga, take long walks, walk your dog, go surfing. Whatever physical activity can clear your mind and connect your mind with your body and your spirit. I recommend starting a meditation practice. On YouTube I have a video about meditation and there are tons of videos about meditation, ways to meditate. This can be an opportunity for you to discover a way of meditation that works for you. It can be as long or as short as you want and it can be in any way you want to do it. Just do something, so you can break away from your fast paced life, with distractions and social media, and take time to connect to your power within. Now you've walked into that audition room, or on stage, or to give that presentation, and I know that feeling you can get when you are nervous. Then it starts to perhaps show in your voice. Your throat gets tight, trembles, your mouth dries out, you could even get a bit of mush mouth. You don't sound confident, you sound nervous, and that's not what the character calls for, it's not what the speech calls for. It's what's happening to you as the actor, to you as the presenter. So how do you get over that? How do you reclaim your voice? How do you make it sound confident?
In my book Accent: American, I begin with a warm-up that helps open up your voice and connect you to your vocal power. I coach my actors and all my clients with a simple easy to remember phrase: Raise The BAR. BAR standing for Breathe, Articulate, Reach Out With Your Voice. First, Breathe. That's the number one cure-all for nerves, or dry mouth, or a weak voice. And yet, stopping breathing is one of our natural reactions in a stressful situation. So breathe deep. Don't just take little shallow breaths, but rather allow your breath to drop into your belly. Imagine it dropping to your groin, into your feet. I know that's a little bit more for my actors, but all of us have wonderful imaginations we can access. Feel yourself planted on the ground, your feet connected to the Earth. Center yourself, by breathing you will start to center yourself. Once you start to do that, your breath relaxes you. It centers you, it grounds your voice, the trembling goes away, your voice opens up, and you sound and feel and are confident.
Next, the A in BAR stands for Articulate. When you're nervous, you might start to speak too fast, to start and re-start your sentences, or start to mumble because you're disconnected from your body. Take a moment to slow down. Use your articulators to communicate and connect to your wants, to your intentions, to your message, and most importantly connect to the other person. For me here, I'm connecting to you out there listening. If you're in front of a group of people, connect to somebody in the audience or the group as a whole. As an actor, connect to the reader, to the other actor, use this as an opportunity to be crystal clear in your speech. You'll start to feel in command, you'll feel confident, and that confidence at that time will start to build, and over time it will increase. The mumbling will disappear, the mush mouth will vanish, and you'll feel in control.
Finally, the R stands for Reach Out With Your Voice. In that moment of nervousness, your fight or flight instinct kicks in, a part of you subconsciously wants to hide, and your voice reflects that by trembling or getting quiet or getting wobbly. Instead, allow your breath to fill your body. Fill your articulators working beautifully, and then, from your entire body through your open mouth, let your voice fly. Send your words, your thoughts, your message, out into the room, easily, fully. By raising the bar, you will have a plan of action in any situation to be confident in your speech, to be confident in your voice and feel powerful in your presentation, or in your audition or on stage. Developing a voice and speech warm up and routine daily will prepare you for those auditions and those presentations tomorrow. Start using the BAR method, to let your voice connect to your body and be ready for the next audition, stage appearance, public speech, whatever your goal is, use this to use your voice and connect to your message. Remember, your voice and your speech are the framework for your message. I'm Patrick Muñoz, thanks for listening and let me know if you have any questions.