The Winning Voice

Best in class communication techniques from Michael Kelly

How to project energy – Lessons from Bradley Cooper

The eyes have it.

When you see a person who has sparkling eyes, you can bet they’re enjoying themselves.

You’ll see a great example of sparkling, beaming eyes in the American actor Bradley Cooper, as he engagingly and devotedly discusses his work, during his 49:16 minute interview with Charlie Rose.

The interview’s focus is on Cooper’s role in the film, American Sniper and on his role in a play of  Elephant Man. Here is the Guardian’s stellar reviews of Cooper’s performance in the play.

Watch as much of the clip as you want.

Here are my thoughts on what you can learn from Cooper:

-Vibrant energy pulses from Cooper’s eyes, from his megawatt smile, from his being. You can almost hear the whirr of that energy – and start looking him over, for physical evidence of it. And all of this is conveyed disarmingly and genuinely, with ease and comfort in his own skin.

-In the 15:25 > 17:23 segment Cooper makes telling points about how, in his preparation for his American Sniper role, he deeply embued himself in his character, Chris Kyle. While developing his body for the role, Cooper hung on the wall of the workout room, a blown-up image of Kyle. He also played Kyle’s personal work-out music.

Notably, Cooper relays how Kyle could change the energy in a room.

-In the 17:40> 18:19 segment Cooper shares how he channeled Kyle (‘I felt Chris’ presence’) to the point where Kyle’s friends, when visiting the set and interacting with Cooper – felt that Kyle was there.*

-Cooper comments on American Sniper director,

Clint Eastwood’s ‘economisation of energy’.

This reminds me of an adage I share with my clients. That is ‘Less is more’ (Speaking less words, has more impact). By the way Cooper does a stellar impression of Eastwood’s voice.

-In the 31:12 >31:49 segment Cooper shares how he prepares each night, for his role as Joseph Merrick in the Elephant Man play. He sits while looking in the eyes of an image of Merrick – for 10 minutes.

Here is the LINK to the interview clip.

*Channeling top performers has helped me deliver better performances for my media interviews. Last year I channeled the speaking delivery of Barack Obama before a Network Nine appearance. I did this by taking an eight minute clip of Obama’ speaking, and repeatedly listened to it as I did my morning’s ablutions, and while getting dressed for the interview.


Own the Conversation

What above idea can you reflect on in your leadership or speaking or presenting? Take the next seven days and start to implement it.

Could you channel Cooper and inject a notch more energy into your communication?

Could you increase your preparation time before a presentation?


p.s. Check out this post about the body language technique ‘Calm the arm’

p.p.s. During the year I’ve spoken about the use of metaphor. Here is a top tier metaphor from the book Ravelstein by Saul Bellow. The narrator  is describing his doctor’s diagnoses of him.

‘Dr Bax, like a skilful Indian scout of the last century, pressed his ear to the rail and heard the locomotive coming. Life would soon be back, and I would occupy my seat in the life-train. Death would shrink to its former place at the margin of the landscape.’ (here is a review of Bellow by James Wood where I was alerted to the metaphor).

#You might want to trial my Confident Personal Communication video learning programme because it will give you practical techniques to ‘Own the Conversation’.

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