[This post is part of a series on Communication Skills Exercises for Business and Life. If you don’t see a Table of Contents to the left, click here to view the series, where you’ll get more value than reading just this post.]
Here are examples of two masters of voicing their self-talk, Robin Williams and (I believe) his mentor Jonathan Winters.
They make great role models for what level of freedom in communication people are capable of. Before watching, keep in mind you don’t have to reach that level to achieve more freedom in communicating to others and yourself. According to Wikipedia, Robin Williams was shy until he began drama in high school and developed his skills through practice.
You don’t need the impressions, the speed, the audience, etc. You only need to communicate openly to achieve the bulk of what they convey — freedom, creativity, and uninhibitedness.
Moreover, you don’t have to try to be funny. In fact, trying to be funny generally backfires. Letting yourself be yourself will get many more laughs and appreciation.
But I recommend doing it for yourself.
On Inside the Actors Studio
[Sorry for the links to videos YouTube won’t play. I’m keeping them here in case the copyright issues get resolved and we can watch them again]
At the Golden Globes. Notice how he never loses track of his environment, thanking whom he wants to thank, especially his note to his friend and Juilliard classmate, Christopher Reeve. He doesn’t just joke around.
On Johnny Carson
Jonathan Winters, a generation earlier, which suggests to me he had his precedent a generation before him.
I’ve never seriously studied acting, but I understand actors search for truth in their craft, art, and roles. I believe the performances above show truth. I think they can only display such brilliance by being themselves, not by putting on a role. I think that’s why we love them.
If they can do it, you can too.
EDIT: See another great example of this exercise here.
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
- Step by step instructions
- Video examples of me and Marshall Goldsmith
- An excerpt from my book