As If

David had multiple roles at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Clients often ask him, "How did you learn all those lines?" Under pressure, actors learn how to learn. And as a fellow actor, Shakespeare embedded clues into his scripts. The words match a character's emotional state and progress logically. The rhythm of iambic pentameter also makes memorization easier.

Utilize professional techniques when preparing for your next presentation. First, determine your intention. Then outline the arc of your talk from beginning to end. When rehearsing, speak the content aloud.

Jacqui O'Hanlon, the director of education at the Royal Shakespeare Company has an exercise she calls as if. She tells performers to first whisper their lines, as if you'll be overheard and then repeat them as if you don't care who hears. Another technique is to focus on the sharpness of the consonants, and then emphasize the emotional richness of the vowels.

These exercises force your brain to view the material from different vantage points. Best of all, they keep you from getting bored. And consider the opener to Shakespeare's Henry V that has inspired actors and audiences since the 1600's: "O for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention..."

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