The words courtroom and drama have much more in common than their frequent co-occurrence in TV guides. In fact, lawyers, businesspeople, and other leaders can learn quite a bit from the world of theatre. Trial skills, advocacy consultant and communications coach Jesse Wilson explains three key theatrical tactics leaders can utilize for a more powerful presence.
3 Key Theatre Lessons for Leaders
1. Act “As If” You’re a Leader
It’s hard to think of leadership as a role, but that’s precisely what it is. Once you’ve identified who need to be as a leader, you’re only job is to play the part well so that’s entirely you. Constantin Stanislavski, the pioneer of American Theater, developed the famous “method acting” approach, which essentially instructs actors not to act, but to become the character. The technique is one many Hollywood and Broadway stars use to achieve Oscar-worthy portrayals. As German actress, Uta Hagen said, “You experience most human emotions by age 18.” Knowing this, most people, regardless of their life experiences, current situation, perspective, and personality can tap into a broad range of emotions utilizing their emotional memory. Through internalization, a leader, whether a leader or business manager, can access specific memories and use their emotions at that time to deliver a more powerful presentation. For example, an introverted leader may think of a time they felt confident and powerful. By channeling those emotions, they may be able to stand tall at their next meeting with potential clients, investors, or staff.
2. Think On Your Feet
Effectively thinking on your feet requires extraordinary listening “to what’s happening in the moment.” Everyone knows the importance of being prepared, whether you’re prepping for a play or keynote speech. However, actors tend to be more adept at thinking on their feet. Part of this is because of an actor’s training in improvisation, as well as their open-minded and imaginative nature. Actors learn to play off of one another and the audience. In the same way, leaders, whether in the boardroom or courtroom, can benefit from being attuned to the audiences’ reactions, as well as that of their colleagues or opponents. Practicing improvisational exercises before an important trial or presentation can prepare leaders to think on their feet with agility. This is a particularly important trial skill, Jesse Wilson said, as opposing counsel often tries to catch one another off guard.
3. Develop Strong Emotional Intelligence
Actors go through rigorous training that is both emotionally and physically taxing. Tell the Winning Story helps students to hone their emotional intelligence as actors do in order to build and convey a clear understanding of the obstacles and objectives they and/or their clients face. Through Tell the Winning Story’s training, Jesse Wilson helps lawyers and businesspeople to be more honest about their own feelings while honing their empathy for others. Although a person cannot fully understand another person’s situation without walking a mile in their shoes, there is much to be said for listening with an open mind. In trial skills training in particular, Jesse Wilson encourages lawyers to get to know their clients on a deep, personal level in order to convey the scope and depth of their circumstances and motivation to the judge and jury.
More on Jesse Wilson and Tell the Winning Story
A graduate of the Juilliard School with a 20-year career in TV, film, and theater, Jesse Wilson, communications specialist, speaking coach, trial skills consultant, and CEO is dedicated to empowering others to realize their authentic selves and maximize their potential. He works with people from all walks of life, from prison inmates to high-profile lawyers and businesspeople.
Since founding Tell the Winning Story, the respected trial advocacy specialist has helped win several high-profile and high-stakes cases, including $90, $45, and $12 million verdict wins in the last few years alone. This includes Blake Vs Werner Trucking, in which Penn Law Firm used Tell the Winning Story to persuade a jury to find Werner Entreprises negligent in a 2014 trucking collision, in the amount of $90 million awarded to a family who lost a son in the crash. It was the largest verdict against Werner in the company’s history.
“Jesse is an extremely talented and insightful teacher who helped me to break through some of my own internal barriers. He helped to inspire creativity and communication in my casework and personal life. I recommend him highly and believe Tell The Winning Story is a worthwhile and necessary addition into the skills trial attorneys need to better themselves and further their clients’ stories” said one reviewer, Grant L., on Facebook.
To learn more about Tell the Winning Story and the newly-released “The 8 Fundamentals of Breakthrough Communication,” available on Trial Guides, visit the website: https://www.tellthewinningstory.com/the-8-fundamentals-of-breakthrough-communication/