Facial Expressions Can Tell More than Gestures
Most important gestures are the facial expressions that convey emotions. The eyes are the most important part of your facial expressions and they convey emotions very effectively. Eye-related expressions are far more important than all other gestures combined. You can’t convey an emotion with just gestures. However, you can convey everything with your eyes only.
You may ask, “How can I gesture with my eyes? How can I make them show a certain emotion?” Your eyes convey an emotion only if you really feel it. So in order to make your eyes show a certain emotion, you need to make yourself feel this particular emotion. How do you make yourself feel an emotion? Very easy! We will use a very powerful technique that actors use.
Remember a situation from the past when you felt angry, happy or sad. Try to relive this situation again in your imagination. Very quickly, signs of the chosen emotion will arise in your nonverbal signals and in your eyes. If you don’t remember anything suitable from your past, imagine a hypothetical situation where you may feel that certain emotion. Imagine somebody harming your kids in order to tap into anger. Imagine that your dream is coming true to become happy. Imagine that your favorite cat has died in order to become sad.
Imagine that you hear a dialogue between my friend Bob and I. “Andrii, I stole your car yesterday. It was so funny to see your face when you didn’t find it on the parking lot!” I angrily reply, “Bob I hate you! You are lucky I didn’t call the police!”
Most speakers say Bob’s lines and then dramatically change their neutral facial expression to an angry one to say Andrii’s lines. In real life, emotions don’t fluctuate so suddenly. Emotions slowly build up, slowly change and slowly disappear.
How do you act out this dialogue correctly? Once you have heard Bob’s lines, pause. Take a moment while you are not talking to become slightly angry, then build up the emotion to very angry. Once you become very angry say with the angry tone of voice, “Bob, I hate you! You’re lucky I didn’t call the police!” Then pause and remain angry. Only after this sequence can you either continue the dialogue or switch to narration.
The sequence is essentially as follows: build up an emotion, say a line with this emotion, the emotion continues. This is how actors talk on stage or in a movie, this is how people talk in everyday life, so this is how you should be acting out your dialogue. This technique not only allows your audience to become active participants in your speech, it also makes your story more realistic, visually appealing and exciting.
If there is no change in emotion of any character in a story, there is no story and no speech. Every time you deliver a dialogue on stage and need to show an emotional shift in a character, this technique will help you. Emotions are one of the few things that will make you successful in any endeavor that involves talking from stage. Emotions are what will make you stand out as a speaker.