Recently, I was talking with a group of people – who did not know each other – until that moment. The conversation was generally light-hearted relating to work, film, family and actors’ agents. Without any warning, this person sitting next to me said, “How many children do you have?” There was a look of bemusement and shock on this woman’ s face, who was sitting opposite him. She responded “I don’t actually have any children.” She was left dumbfounded and speechless, by his comments. What just happened? He just asked an inappropriate question, to someone who now thinks, she looks like a ‘mummy’ (whatever that means) and needs to upgrade her eye cream. You never ask a woman if she is pregnant, because she could just be overweight, that is all. Also, never ask anyone’s age outright, or be prepared for the backlash – boom!
The art of communication is essential for survival, in everything you do, whether it be general conversation, public speaking, social media, pitching for business and/or building new relationships with a client, or maybe connecting with other actors, in the rehearsal room. That is why teaching drama to children is so rewarding, the ‘grassroots’ of effective communication, that establishes confidence, basic life skills through the platform of role-play and improvisation, organs of articulation and most importantly, listening skills. Children all vary in their abilities, however, small steps bring great results, from not speaking a word in a few months to reciting work (poetry) to an audience. Communication makes a difference, reading the newspaper, watching real-time television or attending a networking meeting, influences and redefines your perception. Constantly. We are what we communicate.