GREAT SPEAKERS NEWSLETTER - May 1, 2017
AT THE CENTER OF GREAT STORY TELLING -
I have a gift for you in this newsletter – a tool used for telling memorable stories.
As you know each presentation needs a story since people remember IMAGES much more than FACTS AND FIGURES. AND if those images support your theme, your message, the audience will walk away remembering you and your speech.
Every actor knows that if they see what they are talking about then so will the audience. How do they do that?
They take every sensorial aspect of the story and write pages about it – the color of the sky, the smell of the grass, the taste of the ice cream, the feel of the wind on their face, the sound of the birds. Once that is done they don’t worry about bringing it back when they are telling the story since they have already visited IN DETAIL all that creates the story with all the five senses.
These actors learned Sense Memory and so can you.
THE SENSE MEMORY EXERCISE
To sharpen your ability to SEE, TOUCH, SMELL, TASTE and HEAR the story you are giving an audience. You begin the first exercise with a coffee cup.
Start with a simple, plain coffee cup and fill it with coffee (or your favorite hot morning beverage). Every day for at least fifteen minutes explore every sensory aspect of the cup in minute detail. Let your mind ask questions and allow your senses to provide the answers.
- To begin, sit in a chair and do some relaxation exercises, three deep breaths, roll your shoulders, roll your head, let go of your jaw, relax your whole body, one part at a time starting at the feet up to the scalp saying to yourself “I relax my feet, I relax my calves”… etc.
When you are relaxed, start exploring the cup using the sense of SIGHT. As your eyes view the cup, your mind should answer every detail about the visual aspects of the cup:
- How tall is the cup? What is the diameter of the cup? What color is the cup? What material is the cup made? Is the cup glazed? Are there flaws in the cup (what kind, what size?)? What are the dimensions of the cup's handle? Are there ridges on the cup's rim? Are there artwork or ceramic designs on the cup (what shape, color?)? Are there reflections from the lights in the room visible on the cup (where, what color?)? When do I first see the coffee inside the cup as I approach the cup to look in?
After you have exhausted most of the questions your mind has asked your sense of sight to answer
PUT THE CUP ASIDE AND SEE IF YOU CAN RECREATE IT.
- You recreate the cup without actually having the real cup as a reference. If the exercise is successful, you will actually "see" the cup and the coffee, as though it were there right in front of you. Your memory of the visual sense will faithfully recreate the cup and drink for you.
BRING THE CUP BACK AND SEE WHAT YOU MISSED.
Now move on to TOUCH, and explore in the same deliberate exhaustive manner.
- What does the cup feel like? Smooth, rough, hot, cold? Lift the cup to take a sip. Which muscle in your arm moves towards the cup? Which finger reaches out first? In which part of the finger do you first feel the cup? How heavy is it? How much strength do you need to lift it? And on and on.
REMEMBER TO NOTICE THE SENSE OF SIGHT CHANGING AS YOU MIGHT MOVE OR FEEL THE CUP.
EACH PREVIOUS SENSE SUPPORTS THE CURRENT ONE YOU ARE WORKING ON.
- Repeat this process for the remaining senses, - SMELL, TASTE and HEARING - so that you should be able to ask the same questions and get the same answers when you no longer have the cup to refer to.
REMEMBER TO PUT THE CUP ASIDE AND RE-CREATE THE QUESTIONS AND RESULTS WITH THE CURRENT SENSE YOU ARE WORKING ON.
AND REMEMBER TO NOTICE THE PREVIOUS SENSES IF THEY ARE INVOLVED IN THE CURRENT ONE. EACH PREVIOUS SENSE SUPPORTS THE CURRENT ONE YOU ARE WORKING ON.
NOTE: There is no rushing through this exercise. The more time you take to explore, the better the exercise will serve you in your work as an actor. When you recreate the "imaginary" cup, it should not be pantomime, but an actual sensory exploration. You will find sensory elements of the cup appearing and disappearing as you work. This is normal.
The idea is to keep your concentration 100% focused on what you are doing. Oh, by the way, developing concentration is one of the side benefits of this exercise. Because the bottom line is, if the actor has not developed extremely strong powers of concentration, nothing he learns or attempts to do with his work will succeed.