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Acting sharpens professional skills: learn from the professionals!

Laura Mathis of Sol Academy
Laura Mathis

Ever wonder why certain individuals thrive despite the recession? Do you? Common sense dictates that any interpersonal relationship involves emotive triggers: active listening, social focus, and body language to name a few you may have heard stressed in negotiations. These are not only staples of effective communication but also important acting techniques wielded by consummate professionals of any genre.

Interestingly enough, a symbiotic relationship exists between acting and sales, or acting and negotiations at large. When we consider the methodology of acting itself, it is not to imply adopting a manufactured role you disingenuously convey to others. Rather, acting is fully engaged with personal identification and sympathy—a complete understanding of the situation at hand and those involved. Developing such an awareness only enhances those inherent, necessary abilities applied in all personal negotiations, and vital to successful business exchanges.

In example, simple, often unconscious body language itself dictates over 50% of communication, creating implied positive or defensive emotive connections. One of the largest body language blunders committed in business is the crossed-arm stance professionals often pose in for marketing profiles, commercials, and staff meetings. While the stance is meant to indicate pride, certainty, or concentration, it actually conveys quite the opposite: distrust, unapproachability, or suggested superiority over others. But without appropriate training in this delicate genre, how is one to know the implications?

Enter Laura Mathis, owner and founder of Sol Acting Academy in Nob Hill and the Northeast Heights, recipient of “Best Acting Coach,” and “Best Acting Classes” in Albuquerque the Magazine and the Alibi respectively. A Toronto native and lead in its TV series production of “Distant Roads,” Laura quickly identified Albuquerque's burgeoning film industry as an exceptional primer to help develop one's acting, and by extension, interpersonal skills. Offering specialized classes extending from ages 3 to adult (including a professional actor series, commercial classes, and the Business of Acting that are filled to capacity with real estate, law, and public speaking professionals), Laura insists that with dedication and discipline, her students can master the very best of themselves, gaining a permeating sense of confidence, fun, and personal achievement. “Passion,” she cites “is the root of personal expression, no matter how it's applied. Whether my students come to learn the art of succeeding in film or in their own professions, passion must be obvious, with a willingness to put the hours in there.” With that discipline and some targeted lessons from the academy, people from all backgrounds and purposes can reach the height of communication with ease and effectiveness. “Besides which,” Laura includes, “it's fun!”

Why not give a few acting techniques a try from the comfort of your own home? The proceeding tactics and considerations commonly employed in the genre of performance are ideal to position yourself for effective communications, and equally, sales success:

Guide 1 CONFLICT – What do you want?
Conflict is obvious in every acting scene, as actors search for the critical issues that must be resolved. Interesting enough, so must selling professionals. Your customers have prevailent business issues that must quickly be resolved. Selling professionals understand that business conflict and what they must do to amend it.

Guide 2 THE MOMENT BEFORE – Preparation.
Actors understand the issues of a scene to integrate conflict and relationships. Selling professionals must also identify with prospect’s issues. It is imperative that selling professionals prepare for every call, understanding the customer, the competition, and the industry- a proper competitive analysis provides the sample of prospective client issues.

Guide 3 OPPOSITES – What is the motivation?
Whatever you decide is your motivation for the actor is fine. The same holds true in selling. Understand both your motivation and concurrently that of the client. Be open to opposites and additional conflict, finding means to integrate all towards a positive outcome.

Guide 4 DISCOVERIES – Querying.
Provocative questions and active listening lead to important discoveries. Similar to the actor that makes discoveries as he builds upon relationships in each scene, the selling professional too makes frequent discoveries or needs, and finds means to sate them. Always be ready to ask more questions and understand that new information may yet exist.

Guide 5 – Communications.
Communication is imperative for every actor and selling professional. Ensure your own success by emulating positive non-verbal cues, being open and articulate, and asking key questions that demonstrate active listening.

Guide 6 – The dramatic core.
Selling professionals must discover clients' core issues, time limitations, and decision makers. The core of selling is taking the risks needed and asking the difficult questions to gain that information.

Guide 7 – A series of events.
The act of selling progresses from a series of events. Seek first to understand them and employ your own fluid process to the transaction. Do not rush; ensure that each action is a necessary and obvious part of the completed result.

Guidepost 8 – The element of surprise.
Ask questions first to keep the client guessing. You need not offer full disclosure until you have useful information that directly meets the client's needs. The best selling professionals seek first to understand then to be understood.

Think of each business scenereo as its own acting scene, one with protagonist and antagonist, one with conflicts and an inherent desire for mutual resolution. With these pointers in mind, you can build lasting relationships founded upon trust, create emotive communication, and close the sale with ease.


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