Theater-Based Techniques

Theater skills for business presentations

Setting the stage for success!

Whenever you speak in public, it's a performance. So you'd better know how to engage and activate audiences for business opportunities! Whether it's a conversation or a keynote, you need to understand and fully access your passion, presence, and professionalism.

Actor and speech expert Dr. Gary Genard created The Genard Method to help business executives, leadership teams, and other professionals reach this level of persuasive presentations, speeches, interviews, and public appearances. His performance-based public speaking training shows you how to tap into your most powerful instrument—yourself—to speak with confidence, impact, and influence. You'll learn to apply theater-inspired techniques and tools to business communications. 

Stage Presence and Authenticity

The most important of all oral communication techniques based in the theater. In speaking powerfully, presenters draw upon all of their means of expression: physical presence, voice, gestures, storytelling, and compelling content. A speaker’s job is never merely to deliver information but to create influence based on an important message. That requires embodying the techniques of effective performance.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Most speakers breathe shallowly because they're self-conscious and nervous. To project a strong presence, however (and to reach the back of a large room), diaphragmatic breathing is necessary. This type of “belly breathing” produces full, resonant sound that has the voice of authority. It’s the ideal method of breathing for persuasive and influential speaking.

Relaxation and Focus Techniques

Being a relaxed speaker is important, but relaxation must be combined with laser-like focus on one’s audience and message. Actors stay loose but poised, ready to respond with power while making it all look easy. Like an animal about to spring, they know not to waste an ounce of energy. When a speaker’s energy is that focused, he or she can think on their feet and respond effectively to what audiences are giving them, as they in turn respond to what they're experiencing.

Being Present in the Moment

Presence is an overused and misunderstood term. With regard to the stage, presence means being “there” for one’s fellow actors. Contrary to popular belief, not every stage performance is exactly the same. By paying attention and being completely in the moment, the actor can react with full concentration. The result is a performance that’s much more attuned to what others are giving you—exactly what audiences in public speaking situations are interested in as well.


Few tools of the theater are as enjoyable as improvisation. The Genard Method uses this tool to help professionals think quickly and act appropriately. For team building and responding to questions and challenges, there’s no substitute for training that includes improvisation. A speaker never knows what will be coming from listeners. It’s important therefore to know not only how to survive but to thrive in every speaking situation.

Beats and Intentions

This is one of the most interesting applications of theater techniques to the world of public speaking. Actors pay close attention to the motives and intentions that drive a character’s behavior. There are intentions for the entire play, a single scene, and for “beats” within each scene. Speakers and presenters can use this important tool to decide exactly what they want from others. When speakers are this clear on their purpose, they own a powerful strategic tool for getting audiences to think, feel, and do what the speaker wants them to.

Vocal Dynamics

Every speaker needs to know how to influence others when they speak; to get people to trust them; to hook listeners’ attention and to inspire them with their vision and leadership. To accomplish these things, it’s vital to learn how to use one’s voice—the most subtle delivery tool of public speaking. Not everyone can be a great orator, but every speaker can improve his or her vocal skills to reach the next level of skill and impact.

Body Language

Standing and moving with authority can make the difference between a mediocre presentation and a memorable one. Powerful speakers look the part as well as sound that way. There’s no way around it: good nonverbal communication is essential for successful speaking. Dr. Genard guides clients through the fascinating world of using movement and space to strengthen their presence and influence.

Role-Playing and Simulations

Whether the event is a high-stakes presentation, interview, sales pitch, client meeting, media appearance, or crisis, role-playing and simulations are essential tools for successful outcomes. As a theater-based training system, The Genard Method uses role-playing scenarios to bring coaching and group sessions as close to the real thing as possible.


Delivering information can be static and boring; telling stories makes you interesting. To connect with listeners and get them to pay rapt attention, tell a story. Stories are filled with drama and they’re all about people, which is why everyone loves them. You'll be a different speaker when you "find your true voice" and use stories that connect powerfully with your material. Storytelling is an essential technique for letting everyone know how committed you are to your message and to them. 

Using Language

The greatest writer who ever lived was a dramatist, and there’s no one like Shakespeare for demonstrating the power of language. By discovering how that power works in modern usage, speakers can enliven their presentations and speak with color and impact. It’s one of the ways a spoken performance can come to vivid life when the "curtain "goes up.


Call (617) 993-3410 or contact us to learn more