Life as a Marketing Graduate: Part 4 – True Improvised Acting

by Marketing Lowdown on July 4, 2011

The other day I was talking to a friend about a course he recently completed in Theatrical Improvisation. As I listened to David’s experience with the intensive 8-week course, I thought how useful a course like improvised acting could be for a grad.

The course involved stepping out of your comfort zone. You had to stand on stage in silence with many beady eyes staring at you in anticipation. There were various exercises you had to perform to the best of your (daring) ability. One of them that stuck in my memory was where you had to tell a story on stage without talking or uttering a sound. You had to use your emotions, body language and non-verbal abilities to engage the audience. After all, apparently as high as 80% of communication is non-verbal.

So why did I put two and two together and link improvisation to my role as a marketing grad? Well it’s pretty easy, both within rotations and between them you constantly run into people by surprise. Sometimes you feel like a fish out of water, unprepared to make that stand-out impression you previously had in mind. You have to adapt your personality and be versatile to colleagues in different departments, different levels of seniority and different life stages. You’re in ever changing environments and contexts. I was recently in the lift with the CEO and was caught off guard when all of a sudden it was just me and him in a confined space. Help?! I managed to ask him if he had any plans for the upcoming weekend. Was this being to personal? Should I have asked something business-related or commend the invaluable grad rotations?

Regardless, I think as human beings we are designed to impress and make others like us to some degree. While second guessing yourself is something you can work on personally, I think exposing yourself to unforeseen events is another thing. So I recommend grasping those situations when you’re vulnerable and caught off guard and take a risk to share your insights and get to know other colleagues. Although I don’t suggest you significantly change who you are. It’s expected you should tweak your conversational approach based on the type of audience but stay true to yourself. Act the way you feel, who you are, not who think you should be. After all, as marketers we’re people-friendly and typically outgoing, social and creative people so let that personality shine through.

And enrol yourself in courses if you feel you think it would add value to your career development. After hearing of David’s experience at Impro Australia, I decided to take a risk and enrol myself in the beginner’s course. So in future I’ll be more ready to think on my feet and make that lasting impression!

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Written by: Natalie Waser (Marketing Industry Specialist here at Marketing Lowdown!)

Natalie is engrossed by marketing at all levels – from critiquing television ads, to assessing in-store promotions to debating PR stunts.

Before commencing her Marketing Graduate role with Kimberly-Clark, the fast moving consumer goods company who invented Kleenex and Huggies brands, she completed various internships in PR, digital media and market research. She is driven by her imagination to test marketing norms and create new brand experiences.

On Marketing Lowdown, Natalie reflects on her experience as a marketing grad to bring you helpful tips to make your transition from university student to full-time worker all that little bit easier.

University: University of Sydney, Sydney
Degree: Bachelor of Economics and Social Science (Marketing and Industrial Relations and Human Resources)
Graduated: April 2011
Works as: Consumer Marketing Graduate at Kimberly-Clark Australia
Can be found on: LinkedIn

You can also read about Natalie on our ‘Meet the Team’ page!

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