Get My Weekly Email
Ancient Theatre

Born This Way

acting for askers connection nonprofit fundraising Mar 02, 2021

In his Poetics, written around 335 BC, Aristotle wrote, “Imitation is natural to man from childhood…he is the most imitative creature in the world and learns at first by imitation.” Aristotle goes on to say, “As to the origin of the poetic art [theatre and by extension acting] as a whole, it stands to reason that two operative causes brought it into being, both of them rooted in human nature. Namely (1) the habit of imitating is congenital to human beings from childhood and so is (2) the pleasure that all men take in works of imitation.”

Translation, we are born actors and we learn by acting like others. As children we learn new skills, we grow, and we change through mimicking. Put another way, we learn by acting like those we see around us.

For nonprofit fundraisers and data specialists - as well as anyone in any position in any industry really - this means that you can use your natural innate acting abilities to communicate better with your fellow team members.

Here are three simple steps you can take today - this very minute - to embrace the actor in you and receive a well-deserved standing ovation.

  1. Decide what you want or need.
    Before engaging with a teammate in a conversation or asking them for a favor, know your objective, your goal. Be as specific as possible with your desired outcome, holding it clearly in your mind. What do you want?
  2. Determine your best approach.
    Based on what you know about your teammate, what tactics or approach will work best in helping you achieve your objective for the exchange? Perhaps your teammate likes to chat a bit or maybe they like more directness. Do they appreciate a good sense of humor? Like to feel like the person in charge? Use tactics that are authentic to you, will please your teammate, and help you get what you want.
  3. Check your tone and actions.
    Spend time creating an awareness of your tone and nonverbal cues. Is your tone of voice welcoming or repelling? What are you communicating physically through eye contact and gestures? Do your tone and nonverbals help or hurt you in reaching your objectives?

When layered with a commitment to truth, authenticity, understanding, and empathy (which they always should be) the above tools can improve the way you plan, conduct, and evaluate your communications with others.

So, go ahead. Embrace your inner actor. Afterall, you were born this way. 


Sign up to receive my weekly email with fresh takes, advice, & tips on building a one-person business, nonprofit fundraising, and fundraising data.

Sign Me Up!