Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Improve Your Career – Listen to Shakespeare

Shakespeare is on everyone’s lips right now. While you may ask “what has Shakespeare ever done for us, except bore us rigid in class!?”

Team Angel wants to remind you:

“All the world’s a stage. And all the men and women are merely players”.

Indeed our founder, Janet Crawford, was an actress! We know to take those thespians seriously.

So, today we’re getting inspired by Shakespeare and finding out what actors can really do for our careers. Tweet: This week we’re inspired by Shakespeare and finding out what actors can do for our careers #AngelView @Angel_HR_UK

1. Storytelling – connect with your audience

Great ‘storytelling’ is what makes Shakespeare matter 400 years after his death and it matters to you and your communication too. Tweet: Great ‘storytelling’ matters to you and your communication too. #AngelView @Angel_HR_UK
Why? Successful storytelling connects. How? By knowing your audience and understanding how to push their buttons.

So, whether you’re writing a cover letter, the ‘about me’ section on your CV, speaking in an interview or presentation, then remember:
Sharing your point in story form is not only more engaging but it’s more memorable too. Tweet: Sharing your point in story form is not only more engaging but it’s more memorable too. #AngelView @Angel_HR_UK
Indeed stories are a powerful mnemonic (memory aid) device you can employ to remember what you want to say in a presentation, for example. Find out more over at

2. Leadership Lessons – Think like a king

Richard Olivier, son of acclaimed actor and director Laurence Olivier, reckons Shakespeare’s Henry V has a lot to teach us about being effective leaders.

Using Henry V to explore purpose and limiting behaviours, Olivier has motivated professionals from the likes of BP, GlaxoSmithKline, John Lewis and Microsoft to find ways to navigate career ups and downs while sustaining their sense of purpose.

You can listen to Richard speaking about his work, called Mythodrama, here:

Or, buy his book Inspirational Leadership here.

3. Play the Part – what’s your motivation?

Ex actor, communication consultant and TED speaker coach Gina Barnett says our physical stance and body language tells its own story.

Taking the workplace as a stage Gina uses acting techniques to help people connect with clients, colleagues, and managers with clarity by embodying the story they want to convey.

One of Barnett’s key acting-inspired tips is: pick an objective.

Your interview objective is not to get the job. That’s your ‘super-objective’. Your interview objective is actually: “Do I want to work here?”.

Having this objective changes the dynamic, says Barnett. You no longer feel like the powerless candidate. Now you’re the interested and curious person keen to learn about this company and its people.

In essence it takes the focus off you and onto the other people in the interview. Check out her book and Google talk on her website.

4. Learn to Talk Proper – or the audience will lose the plot

Muttering or speaking too quickly is confusing for employers, colleagues and clients, and frustrating for you – sorry can you repeat that? Argh! Tweet: Muttering or speaking too quickly is confusing for employers, colleagues and clients. #AngelView @Angel_HR_UK
We don’t mean you should sign up for elocution lessons, but all actors learn how to deliver effective dialogue through voice technique and breath control – except maybe Marlon Brando of course.

And, improving “clarity, diction, articulation and pace” says Voice Trainer Sally Lawrence will build confidence. Yay!

So, if you’re prone to mumbling make yourself heard and try out some of these voice tutorials from leading Voice Expert Priscilla Morris of Loud & Clear here.

5. Lend Me Your Ears – listening is not just a cue for you to talk

Actor Robert Redford once said “A lot of what acting is, is paying attention.” And, a lot of paying attention is made up of being an effective listener.

Effective listening doesn’t just mean registering what a person is saying, it means paying attention to vocal tone, body posture and the types of words used. And, it’s just as important in the workplace as on stage.

Over 40 years in theatre, music, filmmaking, writing and radio has taught Creativity Leashed’s Wil Masisak just this. He says:

“Effectively selling products, ideas, or concepts involves the kind of listening skills required to be a successful actor. Your main focus is on what other actors in a scene are trying to say to you — literally or via subtext. Same goes for attending to what a potential buyer or customer is saying to you, and which of their needs are being communicated.”

6. Walk a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes – taking another POV

The ability to look at a situation from multiple perspectives, or POV’s, gives you more hints about how to solve an issue or empathise with another’s point of view.

When people ask Oscar winner Meryl Streep why she has portrayed characters who are so different from her – think Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, Sophie in Sophie’s Choice or Julia Child in Julie & Julia – she says:

“Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself in there.”

Going on to explain that:

“The people I have played in movies and in the theatre have all felt like me to me.”

Honing the skill of seeing things from other people’s POV makes you a better teammate, colleague and problem solver. You can get behind that, right?

7. Get Support – this doesn’t have to be a soliloquy

Actors may have to use their imagination to get into a role but auditioning is usually regarded as being much more difficult than the actual job of acting. Phew – yep, even actors find interviews challenging!

With that in mind many actors have a coach to support them in creating authentic auditions which help them get into character in a very unnatural situation, often alone, on set or stage.

Getting support in your career whether that’s with a recruitment agency – like Angel – or via a career coach or mentor at work is a great way to hone your direction or workplace performance.

Be mindful who you ask for support though – remember My Week With Marilyn?!

Next Steps: How are your communication techniques at work and in interviews?

Share your insights or ask us questions here using #AngelView and you could WIN Angel diary!
Sign up for more recruitment top tips HERE
Want some real life skills guidance? Sign up with Angel and speak with one of our Consultants HERE