Maestro of Mime and Body Language: Marcel Marceau

Marcel Marceau
Image source: Pinterest

The Maestro of Mime and Body Language: Marcel Marceau

Image source: Forbes

The famed French mime Marcel Marceau turns 100 today, and the daily Google Doodle is celebrating with a quick animation depicting a few of his most well-known stances, like leaning against an unseen wall and thrusting against an impenetrable wall. You can watch his initial renditions of the same moves in this YouTube video.

Marceau’s wordless performances mesmerised audiences all around the world for decades, but his greatest legacy is his support of the proverb “Actions Speak Louder Than Words.” The phrase “actions speak louder than words” was coined by Thomas Manton in 1693. Malcolm Gladwell popularised the phrase in his book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, which describes “those first two seconds” when people form snap judgments based on first impressions. The first impression is frequently only visual.

Do this exercise as an illustration: Get a friend or coworker to serve as your audience for an extremely brief overview. Then advance toward the front of the room and begin speaking—quietly, without raising your voice—with simply your lips moving. Slump, balance on one leg, bury your hands in your pockets and scan the room with your eyes as you do this.

Next, halt and move aside. Return to the middle after a little pause, stand tall, look your colleague in the eye, and make a silent lip movement again. Focus all your attention on your colleague and reach out to shake hands with them.

Be still and ask the trial audience how they felt about the two iterations of your activity. The person will undoubtedly react adversely and favorably to the second. And they’d only based that assessment on what they saw, not heard. Words are less powerful than deeds.

Image source: Factre Public

Let’s move on from the ease of mime to the corporate world, specifically, the risky nature of IPO roadshows. How investor opinions of management affect corporate valuation was the subject of an intriguing academic study.

Researchers manipulated the music so that the CEOs’ voices were distorted and their words were incoherent in 30-second short videos from the NetRoadshows of 224 companies, the required streaming form of the roadshow presentation, to analyze those perceptions.

The Wall Street Journal covered the study and reached the point in their article: “They discovered that CEO perceptions are a significant predictor of an IPO’s price. The study discovered that a 5% increase in perceptions of the typical CEO was associated with an IPO price of around 11% higher than anticipated based only on facts. A chief executive is likelier to have a more expensive IPO if their body language and etiquette during investor pitch meetings convey expertise.

Image source: Pinterest

Body language is defined as “gestures and manners.” Ironically, most presenters focus most of their attention and energy on the topic. So, am I advocating that you give up on telling your story to hone your delivery skills? In no way. Give both of the equation’s components equal attention. Focus as much on your voice, body language, and story as you do on the message.

There are many aspects of body language, including eyes, gestures, facial emotions, and posture, but you must start with this one. Remembering the above exercise, it lacked any content words or audible decibels. A person’s perception may be positive or bad depending on whether they slouched or stood tall. Words are less powerful than deeds.

A Jewish family welcomed Marcel Marceau into the world in Strasbourg, France. Charles Mangel, his father, was a Bdzin, Poland-born kosher butcher. His mom, Anne Werzberg, was from the Ukrainian city of Yabluniv. He was a distant cousin of the Israeli vocalist Yardena Arazi through his mother’s family. The family left Strasbourg for Lille when Marcel was old but later moved back.