Take Lessons from an Actor -- Speech & Confidence Training

Increase your success with Job interviews, public speaking, committee meetings, employee evaluations, and auditions.
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  • Lectures 60
  • Contents Video: 1.5 hours
    Other: 20 mins
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 6/2015 English

Course Description

Course Description

Our goal is to improve your speech performance, increase your confidence and credibility, enhance communication, reduce fear in all of those critical speaking opportunities that make a difference in your life:

  • Job interviews
  • Teaching
  • Public speaking
  • Auditions
  • Committee meetings
  • Professional presentations.
  • This is a Speech Class taught from an actor's perspective. This is a course of exercises and thought related to enhancing your speaking abilities, taught from an actor's perspective. Ed Desiato, the co-instructor, is a graduate of the New York Academy and has been active in theater and television all his life. Ed introduces us to classical voice training and shares his secrets of speech that have been so critical to his success in life.

    Content and Overview

    Our goal is for you be understood, to build confidence in your ability to communicate, and reduce anxiety. We recognize how critical it is to your success for you to be a relaxed and confident communicator, as a presenter, lecturer or member of a panel, or being interviewed, evaluated or auditioned, your speech, how you present yourself could determine your future.

    The course design is divided into two parts: Part 1 is comprised of videos with actor instructor Ed Desiato interacting with students in almost a classical training approach. We demonstrate breathing exercises and talk about the physical making of sound as voice and how to enrich that sound. There is also a video of class work with students covering phonetics as an introduction to voice training, diction or pronunciation. These are actual student teacher lecture demonstrations. There are videos using tongue twisters to combine breathing and diction. There is a video of a student reading from a prepared text that we provide.

    These four videos demonstrate what happens in “speech class" as a way to familiarize you with some of the theory and how the teacher corrects and prompts the student. You'll be seeing three students edited throughout the classroom lectures.

    We also include lectures on body language, fear of public speaking, and mindfulness training.

    In part 2 we've designed for you a daily practice that progresses over a 20 day period in which we've incorporated all of the elements of training seen in Part 1. We wanted to give you a structure to encourage you to actually do the work, like piano lessons, you'll have to actually do the exercises. It's only then that you'll start to see a noticeable difference in you communication.

    You will be asked to make a recording of your voice. You can use your phone if you like. You'll be given sample paragraphs to read for your voice sample.

    You'll be able to use that recording as a base line of how you speak now before the course, and compare it to another recording we'll suggest you do at the end of this course. These recordings will be a before and after record of your improvement.

    What am I going to get from this course?

  • 1 hour and 32 min of classroom and lecture videos
  • 27 audio practice files
  • 13 PDF documents of essays, suggested readings and lecture explanations
  • 20 day practicum of speech and mindfulness training exercises
  • Suitable to those in the teaching, sales, business and acting professions
  • What are the requirements?

    • Be prepared to make a recording of a prearranged text to be recorded again at the end of the course for comparison.

    What am I going to get from this course?

    • Speak clearly with the goal of being understood, will have more confidence and a relaxed presence in speaking situations, understand the basics of body language and how to work with fear in social conversations and public speaking.

    What is the target audience?

    • Anyone anticipating critical speaking opportunities that make a difference in your life: Interviews for jobs, auditions, committee meetings, teaching, and of course public speaking.

    What you get with this course?

    Not for you? No problem.
    30 day money back guarantee.

    Forever yours.
    Lifetime access.

    Learn on the go.
    Desktop, iOS and Android.

    Get rewarded.
    Certificate of completion.

    Curriculum

    Section 1: Taking Lessons from an Actor -- Introduction to Communcation
    01:33

    Our goal is for you be understood, to build confidence in your ability to communicate, and reduce anxiety. We recognize how critical it is to your success for you to be a relaxed and confident communicator, as a presenter, lecturer or member of a panel, or being interviewed, evaluated or auditioned, your speech, how you present yourself could determine your future.

    Part 1

    The course design is divided into two parts: Part 1 is comprised of videos with actor/ instructor Ed Desiato interacting and teaching students in almost a classical training approach. We demonstrate breathing exercises and talk about the physical making of sound as your voice and how to enrich that sound. There is also a video of class work with students covering phonetics as an introduction to voice training, diction or pronunciation. These are actual student teacher lecture demonstrations. There are videos using tongue twisters to combine breathing and diction. There is a video of a student reading from a prepared text that we provide. One that we'll be asking you to record as part of the class.

    These 4 videos demonstrate what happens in “speech class” as a way to familiarize you with some of the theory and how the teacher corrects and prompts the student. You'll be seeing three students edited throughout the classroom lectures.

    We also include lectures on body language, fear of public speaking, and mindfulness training.

    Part 2

    In part 2 we've designed for you a daily practice that progresses over a 20 day period in which we've incorporated all of the elements of training seen in Part 1. We wanted to give you a structure to encourage you to actually do the work, like piano lessons, you'll have to actually do the exercises. It's only then that you'll start to see a noticeable difference in you communication.

    Before we go any further, I would like for you to make a recording of your voice. You can use your phone if you like. Pick one of the sample paragraphs provided, these are the sample paragraphs that Ed uses to coach the students.

    You can use that recording as a base line of how you speak now and compare it to another recording we'll suggest you do at the end of this course, a before and after.

    1 page

    Record your voice using one or all of the three sample texts you see in the PDF. Use your phone or any other recording device and simply record yourself reading the text. You'll hear these same texts used later on in the course with Ed and his students. Open and download the PDF to see the sample paragraphs.

    Section 2: A Friendly Dose of Classical Speech Training
    12:40

    The physical making of Sound-

    Roll of Breathing

    In this video we look at how sound is made starting with the breath as it travels up through the music shell and articulated in the mouth. We'll present 3 exercises from Ed's classical voice training textbook to help relax and strengthen all the parts of that music shell using the breath. The primary instruction in this video is to breath with your diaphragm and open your mouth to enrich the sound and give it body and projection. Consistent with our approach is not to be overly concerned with accents or personal idiosyncrasies, but to be able to speak clearly in a relaxed and confident way.

    Muddled or unclear speech is simply a bad habit that expresses our nervousness, anxiety or lack of experience. The exercises are very simple, but if done repeatedly will break old habits of speech.

    1. Crazy Wiggles

    2. The Hum Drill

    3. Way Waw Wos

    Ok Give it a try! Pretend for a moment you're in Ed's class.
    00:11
    17:12

    Phonetics Pathway to be Understood

    This video introduces to you the most basic approach to voice training. The goal of these exercises is to improve diction or enunciation - to be understood by speaking clearly.

    These phonetic categories you will hear about utilize different places in the music shell to articulate the sound: mouth, throat, and tongue. This of course, is all powered by the breath from the diaphragm.

    Ed demonstrates to his students a list of sounds, then words and phrases that exercises the various positions of the music shell that cover most of the sounds possible.

    Ok Now, try the Way-Wah exercise.
    00:06
    1 page

    Do these exercises every morning.

    The purpose of these exercises is to open and relax the “music shell” and practice diaphragmatic breathing that is the foundation of clear and understandable speech. I know you will feel odd doing them and your mind is going to try to talk you out of practice by saying it's too simple and won't make a difference. Remember these exercises are right from Ed's speech textbook from the Academy in New York. Just imagine Robert De Niro as a 22 year old learning how to speak clearly. Practice them, really.

    16:20

    Speech classes for decades have used tongue twisters to improve speech -- specifically enunciation and breathing. They do this by combining the two previous lessons, breathing and enunciation into one style of exercise. They're fun and will become a staple of your 20 day practicum introduced in Part 2 of this series.

    13:36

    Ed is working with Kayla on a prepared text. See Resources for a PDF of this text.

    Use Your Diaphragm to Push Air Through the Music Shell
    00:11
    1 page

    Slow Down!

    You've taken in a lot of material in the form of observing and listening to Ed coach his students. We don't expect you to make improvements from just observing class work. We want you digest and think about the principles Ed is talking about so it's best not to rush through all the lectures in one sitting. Most of all we want you to participate in the form of practice. Take these two exercises and do them as often as you can and learn to identify the difference between ordinary speaking from the mouth or throat and the fuller sound that comes from diaphragmatic speaking. This is voice training and requires you to practice. Repetition is the key.

    "Way Wah Wo Woo" practice this one too!
    00:06
    Section 3: Building Confidence -- Speaking from the Heart and Body
    Introduction to the Number One Fear
    1 page
    04:29

    One of Ed's Students offered to present this lecture as a testimonial to what he achieved as one who was deathly afraid of speaking in front of a camera or in public. English is not his native language. Numerous surveys show that the number one fear in America is public speaking. Now why is that? In this lecture and from the essay in "Resources" you'll learn just how strong that fear is and what we can do about it.

    The Number One Fear. The Essay.
    2 pages
    07:03

    The field of body language not only offers extensive help in fine tuning your message to be delivered with confidence, but gives you tools to transform your emotions and build confidence on a physiological level. Understanding this and incorporating these principles will take you a long way to becoming the successful communicator you'll need to be in order to achieve the success you desire. Please print out and read the PDF from "Resources" as it give a much more detailed account of how body language works within your body to reinforce positive and negative emotions.

    Body language is the subtext of your communication. Gestures and posture communicate to your listener feelings that you may have about yourself or life in general often unrelated to the content you are speaking about. In order to be an effective speaker you will need to be in control of both channels of communication.

    For instance, when you're afraid as you stand before an audience getting ready to speak, you generally don't say “I'm so afraid” as your opening line. However, that is exactly what we do when we shift from side to side or touch our neck before speaking. The body language communicates fear while our voice is trying to communicate confidence. The audience will be confused.

    Excerpt from "Resources"

    Section 4: The 20 Day Assignment -- The Course in Practice
    01:26

    Mindfulness Training Daily Exercises

    Mindfulness training is a style of exercise that employs a nonjudgmental approach to improving or changing behavior. Rather than trying to follow a memorized set of rules or keeping a strict adherence to a set of principles we want you to simply observe yourself in action-- observe how you speak without any attempt at correction. We've given you several principles in earlier talks, we've talked about body language and breathing, enunciation, smiling and making eye contact, now just relax and observe. The mind's ability to integrate change increases when you take away judgement and intention and simply relax.

    Over the next twenty days we'll be giving you mindfulness assignments to just think about during your day.

    Twenty Days of Practice
    2 pages
    01:13

    Welcome to Day One. The mindfulness training assignment for today is breathing. As you go about your normal activities just watch how your speech flows from the diaphragm up and out through the music shell.
    Choose a rubber band for your wrist and snap it each time you remember to notice how you are breathing and speaking. Notice whether you're sitting up straight and using your diaphragm. The snap represents your attention. Go to resources tab over to the right and listen to your breathing exercise, it is not a video, but an audio file. Practice the exercise a few times now. Then practice as often during the day as you remember, snapping the rubber band every time you do the exercise.

    00:06

    Mindfulness is always a light touch. Just notice the topic assigned. Most days we'll also assign a phrase for you to repeat as often as you can throughout your day. Get your friends to help you. Remember to exaggerate the consonant sounds both at the beginning and ending of the phrase.

    00:53

    Welcome to Day Two. The mindfulness training assignment today is pronunciation. Chooses a rubber band for your wrist and snap it each time you remember to notice how you pronounce your words. You can over articulate if you like, but the goal of mindfulness is just to notice your speech and others around you and that's all there is to it; mindfulness is always a light touch. Practicing the exercises each morning is an intentional effort.

    00:43

    Welcome to Day Three. The mindfulness training assignment for today is Body Language. Just observe your posture and gestures as you interact throughout your day. Chooses a rubber band for your wrist and snap it each time you remember to notice how you are sitting or standing. Notice the body language of those around you; see if you can read the subtext. Snap the rubber band every time you catch yourself paying attention. You'll see two phrases from Ed's Classroom appearing in the next lecture. Let those phrases be your anthem for the day. Try them out with friends and do them over and over again making sure you pronounce them clearly. Mindfulness is a light touch. The excercises are an intentional effort.

    Day Three Phrase #1 to practice all day: Give me good times!
    00:06
    Day Three Phrase #2 to practice all day: Does that leave you dumb-founded?
    00:06
    1 page

    Today will be an easy day. We'll take a break from mindfulness and phrases. The PDF you see is the first tongue twister you heard in Ed's Classroom and the most known tongue twister in America. Print it, memorize it and see how fast you can say it! Practice it off and on all day long. Make your friends learn it.

    00:40

    Welcome to Day Five. The mindfulness training assignment for today is Volume. Just observe how loud or soft you speak. Be aware if people can hear you clearly as you go through your day. Pretend that you have a volume control knob and turn it up and down and be aware of how it feels to you. Chooses a rubber band for your wrist and snap it each time you remember change your volume. Two phrases from Ed's Classroom will appear next in the lecture series. Let those phrases be your slogan for the day. Try them out with friends and do them over and over again making sure you pronounce them clearly.

    Day Five Phrase for the Day #1: The King is Dead
    00:09
    Day Five Phrase for the Day #2: Moon
    00:15
    00:33

    Welcome to Day Six. The mindfulness training assignment for today is Posture. Just observe your posture and gestures as you interact throughout your day. Chooses a rubber band for your wrist and snap it each time you remember to notice whether your posture is open or closed. Notice the posture of those around you. Phrases from Ed's Classroom will appear next as a lecture. Try them out with friends and do them over and over again making sure you pronounce them clearly. Have fun with phrases.

    Day Six Phrase #1: Luck Lock Linger Luncatic
    00:08
    Day Six Phrase #2: Butter on Bread
    00:05
    1 page

    Today will be another very easy day.The PDF you see is one of the tongue twister's you heard in Ed's Classroom. Print it, memorize it and see how fast you can say it! Let your friends try it.

    00:39

    Welcome to Day Eight. The mindfulness exercise for today is the use of unnecessary sounds. Observe how often you make sounds that are fillers and have no meaning. You might be surprised and not even realize how many unnecessary sounds you use. Most of us have developed our own personal habits of uttering sounds as fillers. The most common is the "ahhhh" or "hmmmm" sound. Don't try to eliminate them just observe whether or not you use them. Placing your mindfulness attention on this practice is usually enough to eliminate them from use. Chooses a rubber band for your wrist and snap it each time you catch yourself using a filler. You have two phrases coming up next. Repeat them as often as you can all day long. Have fun with them. People will think you're crazy. Pretty soon everyone you know will be taking this class.

    Day Eight Phrase #1: Top of the Toy Line
    00:05
    Day Eight Phrase #2: What Gauge is it?
    00:06
    1 page

    Another easy day! The PDF you see is another well known tongue twister that you heard in Ed's Classroom. Print it, memorize it and see how fast you can say it! Make sure your friends give it a try.

    00:36

    Welcome to Day Ten. The mindfulness training assignment for today is Eye Contact. Just observe how often you make eye contact with your listeners throughout your day. Notice whether or not your listener makes eye contact with you. Notice how you feel when your eyes meet. Are you embarrassed, do you look away quickly. Are you comfortable? Chooses a rubber band for your wrist and snap it each time you realize that you've made eye contact. Your two phrases are next. Try them out with friends and do them over and over again making sure you pronounce them clearly.

    Day Ten Phrase #1: Horsefeathers!
    00:03
    Day Ten Phrase #2: Some Summers we'll go
    00:05
    00:58

    Welcome to Day Eleven. The mindfulness training assignment for today is "The Pause." Pauses are used to give a dramatic emphasis to words and phrases. They draw your listener in. Practice pausing and observe how it makes you feel. Watch how a pause will affect your listener. Zoom goes the truck is your upcoming phrase for the day. Try pausing after the word "zoom" and see how it changes the meaning of the phrase.

    Day Eleven Phrase #1: Rocks are hard.
    00:07
    Day Eleven Phrase #2: Zoom goes the truck
    00:07
    1 page

    The PDF from Ed's Classroom you see is one of the most difficult tongue twisters to say quickly. Print it, memorize it and see how fast you can say it!

    01:04

    Welcome to Day Thirteen. The mindfulness training assignment for today is Pace. Watch how fast you talk, Mindfulness is really very simple, remember it's the light touch. Notice how fast or slow others talk to you. Be aware of how it makes you feel when someone is talking fast...or slow. Chooses a rubber band for your wrist and snap it each time you find yourself being aware of pace.

    Day Thirteen Phrase #1: Shoot some marbles
    00:07
    Day Thirteen Phrase #2: Loves Labor Lost
    00:06
    00:37

    Welcome to Day Ten. The mindfulness training assignment for today is "Anxiety". Not everyone has anxiety in social situations or when making a speech. Today just notice whether or not you do. If you do become anxious at times just notice what the triggers are. Is it the people you're with, is it your emotional state of mind at the time. Anxiety interferes with our ability to communicate and it's not a constant state. Reducing anxiety will relax you and your listeners. When you're anxious everyone around you becomes anxious. Mindfulness is just noticing. The phrases for the day are next.

    Day Fourteen Phrase #1: Time and Tide
    00:06
    Day Fourteen Phrase #2: Dog eared pages
    00:04
    00:29

    Welcome to Day Ten. Today is a little different in that we're asking you to just listen. Be aware of your own attention span as u listen. Do you fade in and out? Are you interested in what's being said? Are you listening? This mindfulness assignment is geared to increase your empathy of the listener so that you better understand how to be understood and how to help the listener stay interested. Snap the rubber band when you find yourself more or less interested in what is being told to you.

    Day Fifteen Phrase #1: Nice is often not to good
    00:06
    Day Fifteen Phrase #2: Some summer days are hot
    00:06
    Day Sixteen
    1 page
    Day Seventeen
    1 page
    00:56

    Today will surely be a happy and pleasant day. Your mindfulness task today is to be aware of your smiling. Also observe when others smile back at you. Snap the rubber band on your wrist every time you notice your smile. Just catalog how the smiles make you feel, yours and theirs. Saying the phrases that appear next will help you incorporate smiles.

    Day Eighteen Phrase #1: Happy harvests are history
    00:09
    Day eighteen Phrase #2: Old King Cole
    00:02
    2 pages

    This is a well known and difficult tongue twister. Print it and practice it as often as you like. We saved it for last because of the challenge it poses both for diction and breathing. The goal is to be able to get through the whole
    story in one breath. Remember speak with a crisp pronunciation paying attention to the ending sounds of each phrase.

    Congratulations!
    1 page
    00:10

    Congratulations! You've completed all the days of practice. Now is the time to record your voice reading the same selection you chose to read before we started, the PDF is again included here in resourses. I hope you will see the improvement in your speech, it's clarity and feel more confident as a speaker. You've embarked on a new journey of self improvement and with continual practice and self observation you will become a more relaxed speaker, a more confident person and the engaging speaker you aspire to be.

    The resource links:

    1. I included Zizek the "sniffling philosopher" as he is called to demonstrate how a speaker can break all the rules of body language and good speech and still be successful simply because he is excited and engaged with his subject.

    2. Amy Cuddy's Ted Talk was mentioned in the lecture on body language.

    3. The link to howjsay.com is a great resource to check the proper pronunciation of words you're unsure about.

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    Instructor Biography

    Gene Williams, Writer Producer at Udemy

    I am a life time student of the human condition and observer of human relations, a facilitator of communication, accomplished speaker and negotiator. I've worked in Russia and Ukraine during the late 80s early 90s, negotiated for Maker's Mark Bourbon in Moscow, fulfilled orders for Bloomingdales and the J Peterman Co for Russian Hats. I've owned and operated a full service restaurant, music and theater venue, was a real estate broker for 20 years. Just after college I was hired as Director of a Crisis Intervention Center for Juvenile Offenders; I started my career scooping ice cream for Baskin Robbins in 1967. Graduated from college with a BA in Psychology and Philosophy.

    Instructor Biography

    Edmund Desiato, Acting and Speech Coach @ Udemy

    Edmund Desiato has enjoyed an illustrious theater career since graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. He has appeared in innumerable stage and screen roles, including work for Jackie Gleason and the television series "The Edge of Night." Ed has worked with professional, community and touring theatres for many years. Most recently Ed appeared in the Balagula Theater's production of "Line", "The Dresser","Marx in Soho", and starred in the one man production of "Barrymore". Ed is currently teaching and coaching students in acting and voice..

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