Theatre and business. These two subjects hardly ever align for the same person. To most actors, they act, sing, dance, and so on. However, they would never imagine doing accounting, studying economic trends, developing a product or ad campaign… These two subjects seem worlds apart. I bridged the two I my life and consequently, I have found that Theatre prepares you for business in a lot of ways, here are 5.
1.) Looking and acting the part, to lead anyone.
I am not saying by any means that I am a five-star leader. What I do know, is that in my time, I have worked with many people and in addition, I have had to lead many teams. In anyone’s career, regardless of industry, you will have to lead. Yourself, your co-workers, team members, someone, at least once. On stage, as an actor, you have lead roles and supporting roles. Neither is more important than the other, just like being part of a sales team. The stage is fair game, you give and you are given opportunities. When you step onto stage, dressed as only your character would dress, you transform into a new human-being. As you make this change, you physically alter yourself (poise, posture, mannerisms, etc). You change your vocal positioning (say things you would say, say things differently then you would say them, so on). In many ways, you become “appropriate” for the situation. In many ways, this is similar to business, or at least applies to business. In different settings you look and act differently. Theatre prepares you to be able to adapt to any situation, adjust your character, and interact appropriately. Through this process, others in the setting are your fellow cast mates. Together you put together a production of business. With the skills you exercise, you can easily become a “leading” character and develop the situation. In other avenues, you can develop your character to be a leader, and create situations where you portray yourself in this light and to new audiences you may just find yourself leading them.
2.) How to speak about anything, confidently.
Most business people have had to give a presentation. To an investor asking for money, friends, family, and strangers asking for support. To win over an audience at an event or promote your product or service idea. Literally, the presentations as an entrepreneur never cease. Every day you must sell, sell, sell yourself and your business. I owe a great part of who I am and how well I present to theatre. Theatre makes you well versed. It allows you to conquer public speaking, adapt on the fly and improv your way through tough scenarios. As any actor knows, improv is one of the most difficult, high stress, fast-paced, and instantaneous forms of theatre that you can experience (now imagine improvising a long-form musical, whew!). To this end, improv is crucial to the presentation ability of an entrepreneur. Audiences yell out a scenario or setting, you must adapt and begin fluidly conveying your ideas and thoughts across to win them over and enjoy your scene… or presentation as a business owner. Every business person should experience an improv class or two, you will be amazed what this kind of training will do for your presenting abilities.
3.) There is always conflict.
Imagine a show (television, theatre, or other) that had no conflict in it. Without conflict, there can be no climax, no excitement, and no wins or losses. Everything would be predictable and boring. Everything has conflict, real life or staged, it does not matter. Finding a way to handle the conflict and reach the resolution is the true goal and prize. Be prepared as a business or business owner to fight your antagonist (competitors most likely), and hopefully reach a pleasant and fruitful resolution, like achieving a successful exit.
4.) It takes a team to run the show.
This is another plain and simple bullet, just like the previous one. You may start your business by yourself, but one man shows are rare, rough, and sometimes rugged. Build a cast and crew around you, sales, customer service, management, executives, and so on that will help you illuminate your business and have be very successful.
5.) Some shows are flops; some go to Broadway.
Ahh… Broadway… The “Promised Land” of sorts for most stage actors/actresses (and technicians… directors… everyone in theatre really). There is one thing however, not about personally making it to the big city with your name in lights but your entire business being successful and making it’s name known. A flop in theatre is a show that doesn’t perform well and therefore has a limited run (a.k.a. life span). When I say some shows are flops, that means, you will have other businesses or opportunities that fall flat on their face after you sink money into it. It just wasn’t meant to be. On the flipside, your business runs the chance of being a “hit” and going for extended runs on “Broadway” or you could simply say, you make a name for yourself and your business and everyone involved profits. Just understand, not every one will be a success… you will fail, or at least the business will.
Do you think Business and Theatre are related? Let me know in the comments or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brandon Banks (@brandonbanksbiz), a serial entrepreneur began his entrepreneurial adventure at a young age and currently travels to educate students on the possibility of seizing the day and moving toward their dreams of being their own boss. Together in collaboration with his network Banks disrupts common traditional barriers and exposes that through proper support anyone can be an entrepreneur regardless of where they are at in life. Check out more of Banks’ writing here: http://www.brandonbanksbiz.wordpress.com