Carnegie Mellon University

Acting for Business II

Course Number: 45896


Business Acting II is an opportunity to further unlock your potential as a communicator through becoming more proficient, thorough and masterful at the principles and practical techniques introduced in the first course: Business Acting. This second course is tailored to the developmental needs of the individual participants, the goals being: 1) solving issues regarding personal confidence; 2) confidently commanding the space; 3) further "stretching the envelope"; 4) confidently achieving the "Audience-Pleasing Form"; and more fully mastering 5) the V.A.T. Communication Tools and 6) all stages in the "Seven Stages to Executive Presence". The participants identify their individual challenges in personal business communications, and confront those challenges head-on.

This class work involves working on diverse monologues and/or duet scenes or improvisations -- as preferred by each participant. Provided monologues are: Assertive; Reflective; Extreme or "Out There"; Comic; and Shakespeare/Verse monologues. At least one of a participant's chosen monologues must be from the Comic Monologues category - as those monologues make overt demands on the participant's perspective on the material, timing and reading an audience. These choices can inform and positively impact work on choices from other categories. In addition, the participants may also bring in dramatic materials that they have found elsewhere - subject to my approval, or a short presentation, if that might more directly addresses an identified goal. Videotaping of performances could be involved - but only if desired by the individual participant; any video would be handed to each participant at the end of taping for their private viewing only.

This second course moves beyond introduction to practical mastery of acting techniques in communication. The participants are encouraged to make bold choices, and to be daring and fearless when communicating in public.

Key take-aways of this course are:

  1. Greater personal confidence, power and command when speaking in public.
  2. Greater diversity and audience interest in one's performance.
  3. A broader comfort zone, including the involvement of humor and humanity.
  4. Greater confidence in use of V.A.T. Communication Tools.
  5. A reinforcement of the Seven Stages of Executive Presence, including:
    2. TO DEFINE THE RULES: Definition, Clarity, and Focus - including proper preparation and rehearsal.
    3. TO RAISE THE STAKES: Depth, Empathy, Robust Investment, Immersion, and Human Connection, including Empathy for the Speaker's values and Immersion in those values.
    4. TO PROJECT and FASCINATE: Dynamic Variety and Musical Range - including adherence to the "Audience-Pleasing Form", and finding all available Flow and Contrast.
    5. TO PERSONALLY RISK - including finding a smile or sense of humor in the work.
    6. TO BOIL IT DOWN TO THE ESSENTIAL: Simplicity, Specificity, Editing, Refocusing, Regrounding, Customization and Economy.
    7. TO DO IT WITH EASE: Efficacy (effective energy) and Mastery - not only the veneer of "believability" or "earnestness"; to achieve the idea of the First Time, and working with an eye toward being interesting to watch and valuing the audience's time.

Event Line for the Course:

1 st: On the first day, I ask each person in the class to think of what his or her personal communication challenges and goals are. Then I solicit advice from classmates about each other. The participant should leave the first session with a rough idea of major goals to address. (Soon thereafter, I will also look up the goals that you stated you wanted to achieve at the beginning of Business Acting, and determine whether you have changed or updated your goals.)

2 nd: The participant chooses dramatic challenges (monologues or duet scenes or ideas for improvisations) that address the individual's goals.

3 rd: The participant works on a challenge as often as desired or deemed useful. There are no "first showing/final showing" limitations as in the first course. In each session the participant should be ready to work on a new challenge or on the improvement of a previous challenge. Memorization is encouraged early in the process, so that it is no longer a serious hurdle in the work. The participant will be provided with verbal and written feedback throughout the course.

4 th: On the final day of the course, the participant performs all of the challenges on which he/she worked in the entire course with the performance still viewed as a "work-in-progress". Most participants perform at least three monologues; in past years, some participants have performed as many as five. The participant will be provided with verbal and written feedback.

Attendance and Punctuality:

Attendance and Punctuality for all classes are mandatory. Attendance is an individual's presence and full participation for the entire session. Arriving late or leaving early -- being absent for part of a class -- these each impact grading. You are expected to attend and to participate with enthusiasm and curiosity. Most sections of this course meet twice a week. However, if your section meets only one time per week, missing that one week's class is equivalent to two absences.


  1. Attendance and punctuality.
  2. Your enthusiasm, curiosity and willingness to attempt the tasks given .
  3. Your full compliance with the instructions for each performed or written exercise.
  4. Your cumulative mastery of the "Audience-Pleasing Form"; the V.A.T. Communication Tools and all stages in the "Seven Stages to Executive Presence".
  5. Full preparedness for each assignment, including any written work or rehearsals outside of class (10/12-GH)

Degree: MBA
Concentration: Business Management Communications
Academic Year: 2020-2021
Semester(s): Mini 2
Required/Elective: Elective
Units: 6
Prerequisite(s): 45895 - Acting for Business I


Lecture: 100min/wk and Recitation: 50min/wk