“Every man has business and desire,”Shakespeare wrote.
But what can a Shakespearean actor teach MBA students about being more effective in business interactions?
Quite a bit, as they found out during a lively lunchtime workshop with Rina Mahoney, who visited campus in September with the touring company Actors From The London Stage. Close to 80 students packed the Giovanini Commons to hear the star of Twelfth Night tell them, “I do what you do for a living.”
To be successful, said Mahoney, both actors and businesspeople must be first-rate performers. Reaching that goal means learning to relax, listen, and keep presentations interesting.
“This is something that makes sense to me,” said first-year MBA student Vikram Singh. “This is one reason I came to the MBA program—to improve my presentation skills.”
Mahoney had volunteers try vocal exercises that actors use before taking the stage and do warm-ups to keep their bodies loose. Their antics drew laughter, but students took home one key message: when you’re nervous before or during a business presentation, 99 percent of success may be in just remembering to breathe.