By Don Sturgill
OF ALL THE SCHOOLS of acting, the most acclaimed is “Method Acting,” or simply, “The Method.” Beginning with New York’s Group Theatre in the 1930’s, disciples of The Method have consistently become stars: James Stewart, Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Marilyn Monroe, Dustin Hoffman, Marlon Brando, Reese Witherspoon, Suzanne Pleshette, and Jack Nicholson … to name a few.
One early practitioner of The Method, though, came to believe the Method’s emphasis on feeling would be better focused on doing. Have you ever met anyone like that – focused on results and not terribly concerned about how anyone else feels about it? Is it even possible you resonate a little with that attitude? High achievers can sometimes come across as a bit brusque.
Practitioners of the Meisner Technique (an offshoot of The Method) include greats like: Alec Baldwin, Diane Keaton, Steve McQueen, Gregory Peck, Robert Duvall, Sandra Bullock, and Tom Cruise.
Since PPC is also focused on results (try convincing a client it’s okay her ads aren’t converting, since they ARE making people feel good), why not use components of the Meisner Technique to boost your own scorecard?
PPC Managers and Actors have much in common
Visit Nashville and you will find that every other cab driver is an aspiring country western singer. Go to a Hollywood restaurant, and chances are your server is hoping to make it to the big screen. Most never make it far, but they try. It’s the same with PPC managers. Anyone can grasp and apply the basic concepts; they can do a passable job, but true stardom is difficult to obtain.
The real winners bring a certain enthusiasm to the table. You immediately know their chances are much better than average. Take a few minutes to speak with Paragon PPC, Richard Farr about Google Analytics, for example, and you will see what I mean. His eyes light up with passion for the topic. Richard has the gift.
Desire – the first requisite to success
Actors must be devoted to the craft. Even to participate in a local amateur production requires untold hours of practice and the chutzpah to show up for every event – even when you don’t feel like being there.
The same applies to PPC management. Without enthusiasm for the work and a burning desire to keep learning, you may as well take a job at the local factory and count widgets. Desire will keep you going. Despair will sink your ship.
Tip: Get out of bed fifteen minutes early and begin every day with a mini-meditation. Remember who you are, where you are going, and why you want to get there. It is easy to get lost in the never-ending demands of the day. When you lose your passion, you lose your reason — you lose your Why – and that is a sure-fire path to failure.
Repetition – until you feel the change
Have you ever been searching for something, then see it suddenly appear – right in front of your eyes? It was there all the time, but the object was not visible until your focus adjusted and your mind recognized the form of the thing.
A primary exercise of the Meisner Technique is to face off with another actor and begin trading a phrase back and forth. The idea is to work with a rote observation or question and observe how it becomes more meaningful, more “real” after you begin putting more of yourself into the exchange.
PPC can become rather mechanized, can’t it? Given the cadre of tools available, one can pull the charts here and there, recalibrate the instruments, and proceed like a sailor on calm seas. Moments arise, though, when the wind picks up and something shifts. We then become more focused, more alive, more aware of the fundamentals.
When you find yourself in the midst of a hurricane, pay attention to the energy you bring to the table – your devotion to the goal of doing something to bring about better results. Later, when the waves flatten again and the threat is diminished, try to remember that experience and bring it back into play. Switch that enthusiasm back on when all is going well … and see what happens as a result.
What We Can Learn from Meisner’s Actors
Meisner’s actors don’t focus on the words they are given to perform; rather, they look for the reason behind the words and attempt to bring that before the audience.
Any PPC manager worth his or her salt does the same. Don’t talk to your audience; engage them. Don’t “target” a potential customer; invite him to experience what it’s like to hit the bullseye.
Whether you are looking for someone to make your PPC efforts shine, or you’re a PPC manager who wants to see your results climb the charts … consider the Meisner Technique, and make sure your work delivers results … not just feelings.
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