Moving on Stage & Having Good Stage Presence

This Friday’s Q&A will have just one question and it is a great question.

What are some good stage presence tips for speaking on stage?

As a communicator we have many tools to help our message get across. We can use vocal variety, eye contact, stories, solid content, etc. Another option is to use the stage effectively. Great speakers use the stage to enhance their message.

Before we look at some good stage presence tips, here are how some speakers act on stage. I have done them all and observe them happening frequently.

Stone Statue

We took a Royal Caribbean cruise for our honeymoon. On one of the stops, we saw a 6.5 foot stone statue of a man holding a broom. That was unique.

After snapping some pictures, we sat down, enjoyed the weather and talked. During the 20 minutes we sat there, the stone statue never moved. No surprise there.

Unfortunately, many speakers are like a stone statue. They stand in one spot with just their mouths moving. How many times have you seen or been a speaker who stayed in one spot for 20 or 30 minutes? It can work, but there are better options.

Tree in the Wind

This person will sway back and forth in one spot. It tends to have a hypnotic effect on the audience. Rumor has it that it can put people to sleep.

Keeping the feet warm dance

As a 12 year old, I would often have to take care of the farm animals in the bitter cold. Sometimes as I waited for the cow to finish her drink, I would raise and lower my feet to keep them warm.It worked great on farm, not so much on stage.

I have never been in a seminar where it was below 60 degrees, but I have seen speakers do a similar version by shuffling their feet back and forth.

Walking the dog in park

Ever walked an energetic puppy? They prance around the park, straining at the leash to pull their owner in a aimless path.

As a young speaker, this is what I would do. I kept moving on the stage. This burned energy and kept the audience’s attention, but quickly can wear them out. Moving is fine–if you stop on purpose. More in a moment.

Instead of doing the above, here is how the pros recommend use the stage.

How to use the Stage when Giving a Presentation

Most speeches have several points or sections. If your speech does not, put some in. An audience enjoys a speech without points/sections as much as they enjoy a 175 page book with no chapters.

A typical 30 minute speech for me will be:

  • Intro
  • Point 1
  • Point 2
  • Point 3
  • Conclusion

The World Champions of public speaking and professional speakers recommend the following setup. I have used it and seen it used quite successfully.

You start in the middle of the stage with your intro. Move to the right (audience left) and deliver point #1. After speaking for a few minutes, move to the middle and deliver the next point. Deliver point #3 from stage left and move back to the middle for your conclusion.

Got more points? Deliver them from another section.

Here are the advantages:

  • You move when you are transition to the next position. This helps take the audience with you.
  • You are moving with a purpose. This enhances your presentation.
  • You may find it easier to speak with less notes. The locations will help you remember your points.
  • You will make your presentation comfortable to the audience. We read from left to right. The audience will see you delivering your presentation from left to right.

Try these stage presentation tips with your next speech. You’ll find this tool will increase your speech effectiveness.

Arlen Busenitz

Arlen Busenitz is an experienced speaker with over 650 presentations. He is Author of several books, CD's,and creator of Become a Better Speaker in One Evening™

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Starting today, I am launching a new weekly Friday post. I’ll be  answering public speaking questions submitted by readers, clients, and others. If you have one, feel free to submit it here:

Here are three great questions.

How do I develop good vocal variety?

Many speakers are monotone. This means their voice is stuck in one gear in regards to their volume, speed, and pitch (high notes / low notes).

In speaking, my default mode is an enthusiastic voice (strong and fast). Though enthusiasm is contagious, it also can be monotone if a person stays in that gear. My mentors have emphasized the need to add variety (which I am doing).

It’s difficult for the audience to listen to a monotone voice.

What if your favorite artist’s voice and music was all the same key/note? Would you quickly shut it off?

Audiences can do the same for us.

We want our voice to be like a good orchestra with changes in:

  • Speed
  • Volume
  • Pitch

Here are two steps that have helped me and  will help you:

Step 1. Read about how to have vocal variety. Check out the following posts:

Find Your Natural Voice in 5 Seconds

How do I stop being Monotone and have Vocal Variety

How to have Vocal Variety

Step #2: Practice for 10 minutes a day.

Do you have kids or a spouse who likes to be read to? Read for 10 minutes day. Not only will help parental bonding, but will help you develop this flexibility in your voice. Exaggerate. Kids love it.

If you don’t have kids, just practice out loud. This will help you to quickly develop a flexible voice.

Where can I find Videos of Good Speakers

One of the best ways to become a better speaker is to watch and learn from experienced, successful speakers.

Ten years ago it took extra time and money to find great speakers. Now its as simple as doing a search on the internet.

Hop over to Youtube and type in “Motivational Speaker”. You’ll see short clips of literally hundreds of speakers.

Here are  few good speakers to look up:

Zig Ziglar

Rory Vaden

Craig Valentine

Tony Robbins

Brian Tracy

Watch and learn as you remember my father’s advice.

Listening to a speaker is like going through a food buffet line. Take what’s good and leave the rest.

Every speaker does some things really well, yet also has areas to work on. Just because a popular speaker races around the stage, does not mean it’s the best practice.

Notice how Brian Tracy may not be as  dynamic as the others, but he as riveting content. Each has their own style.

Action Plan: Watch at least 10 minutes of a good speaker every day.

Why do you recommend pausing for several seconds before starting a presentation?

Pause for several seconds before you speak. I have shared this many times in my coaching and on the blog. Why?

First, pausing allows you to collect your thoughts and to breathe. It allows you to plant, focus, and launch into your presentation.

Second, it calms the audience.

Depending on the audience, if you start the second you are on stage, you are now competing with dozens of side conversations. Pause for several seconds and let people calm down. You’ll notice a hush will fall over the crowd. Sometimes, if you are not introduced, you may have to grab the audience’s attention yourself

Third, it creates tension and anticipation.

Silently standing in front of an audience is not normal. That’s why you may feel nervous doing it. The audience will feel and increase in tension, but more importantly: anticipation. “What is he/she going to say?”

This will help successfully launch you into your speech.

Learn about the Ed Tate Pause and use it in your next presentation.

That’s it for this Friday’s public speaking question and answer post. Submit your question or leave a comment.

Also, check out my latest program Become a Better Speaker in One Eveing™

(C) Arlen Busenitz

Arlen Busenitz

Arlen Busenitz is an experienced speaker with over 650 presentations. He is Author of several books, CD's,and creator of Become a Better Speaker in One Evening™

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Pizza & Preparing Your Presentation

Recently we brought home a fresh made pizza. All we had to do was bake it in the oven, slice it, and delight our taste buds. I tossed the pizza in the preheated oven, set the timer for the recommended minutes, and waited till the buzzer rang.

Five minutes later the pizza was sliced and we took our first bite. Ugh. Instead of fluffy crust, we bit into raw dough. The perimeter was cooked, but the middle doughy.

Two public speaking lessons stand out:

1. Just as there is no exact cooking minutes for pizza that work on every oven, every speech takes different preparation time. A 30 minute presentation on a topic I’m familiar with may take less prep time than a 7 minute speech on an unknown topic.

2. Don’t underestimate the value of extra cooking time. Just 5 more minutes would have turned pizza headed for the garbage into a delicious meal. The difference between an average presentation and a great presentation is often just a little more prep time.

I was able to cook the pizza for another 6 minutes and salvage the meal. We can’t prepare for a presentation after the fact. Put the time in ahead of time and you will serve an excellent presentation.

Arlen Busenitz

Arlen Busenitz is an experienced speaker with over 650 presentations. He is Author of several books, CD's,and creator of Become a Better Speaker in One Evening™

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Question #30: How should I not start a presentation or speech?

There are good ways to start a speech and poor ways. Here are a few openings that can hinder your presentation and possibly ruin the entire speech. Avoid them. There are many better speech openings.

  1. I’m sorry but I did not have time to prepare like I wanted. (See more on starting with an apology)
  2. Thank you for this opportunity and I would like to thank these forty people.
  3. I am not an expert in what I am going to talk to you about.
  4. Sorry about the power point snafu – Rob
  5. Umm. Uh. I. Ah…
  6. I’m going to talk about… – Melanie
  7. I was up last night for half the night and could not sleep. Please bear with me.
  8. I have allergies and a cold, but I’ll try to fight through the pain.
  9. I heard a joke you may like. It has nothing to do with the presentation and you have all probably heard it but I’ll tell it again.
  10. I’m so happy to be here.

What is wrong with most of these? They are “I” focused. The audience is concerned with themselves. What are you bringing to the speaking table.

Instead of these openings check out these articles:

Arlen Busenitz

Arlen Busenitz is an experienced speaker with over 650 presentations. He is Author of several books, CD's,and creator of Become a Better Speaker in One Evening™

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Find your Natural Voice in 5 Seconds

Question #29: How do I talk with a natural voice that sounds pleasant?

Have you recorded yourself? Do you like the way your voice sounds?

Most people despise listening to themselves. Why? What we hear when we talk is different than what others hear.  You may have good reason for disliking how you sound.

Many people are not speaking with their natural voice. Are you one of them?

Here is a simple way to find your natural voice, train it, and develop a voice that is easy to listen to.

Step #1: Record yourself reading a paragraph, talking, etc.

Step #2: Check out this article on the Instant Voice Press

The Instant Voice Jiggle is a holistic technique that basically gives you the correct tone focus, natural pitch level and range, and the sound of your real voice.

It is a simple 3-for-1 procedure that may give you everything “in a nutshell.”

Step #3: Practice the Voice Press for about 10 minutes.

Now record yourself again. If you have not been projecting and speaking right, you’ll notice a good improvement. Keep practicing with the voice press and you will develop a voice that is pleasant to the listeners ears. You’ll train your voice to sound the way it was meant to sound.

Combine this with other vocal variety techniques and you will develop a great public speaking voice. You will speak with confidence and power.

(C) Arlen Busenitz – Speakinginfo.com

Arlen Busenitz

Arlen Busenitz is an experienced speaker with over 650 presentations. He is Author of several books, CD's,and creator of Become a Better Speaker in One Evening™

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A Speech Writing Formula from the 30’s

Question #28: What is a good method to structure my talk when writing a speech or preparing a presentation?

Dale Carnegie was a master presenter who lived in the first half of the 20th century. He trained thousands of speakers around the country and taught them the following:

Tell the audience what you’re going to say, say it; then tell them what you’ve said.

Lets break that down:

1. Tell the audience what you’re going to say. (preview)

2. Say it. (explanation)

3. Then tell them what you said (review)

Want an example?

How do I “tell the audience what you’re going to say, say it; then tell them what you’ve said?”

Recently I gave a business presentation on “How to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking”. In this presentation I shared three keys for increasing speaking confidence and reducing fear.

Using the above formula, my speech went like this:

Intro

You will learn three keys that have enabled me to overcome my fear of public speaking. They are: 1. Act Confidence. 2. Prepare. 3. Relax

Let’s start with the first one. Act Confident.

…..

Second key is: Prepare

……

Third key is: Relax.

……

You can overcome your fear of public speaking. First, Act Confident. Second, Prepare. Third, Relax.

Notice how I previewed my three keys, then explained each, and finally reviewed them in my conclusion.  I have given this presentation multiple times and the above format has worked the best.

Under each point you can start with saying the point, explain the point, and then review the point. This makes your presentation get remembered.

You can use the same idea when telling stories with effective storytelling techniques.

Telling Stories that Make a Point

Every story or situation will vary, but here is a great outline.

State the Point – Story illustrating the point  – review the point

By following Dale Carnegie’s formula your speeches will be well structured, easy to deliver, and remembered.

(C) Arlen Busenitz – Speakinginfo.com

Arlen Busenitz

Arlen Busenitz is an experienced speaker with over 650 presentations. He is Author of several books, CD's,and creator of Become a Better Speaker in One Evening™

More Posts - Website

A Speech Opening Line to Avoid

Question #27: What is a speech opening line to avoid?

A great presentation is like a good airplane trip. You need a smooth takeoff, safe flight, and a smooth landing. Many speeches never get off the ground because of a weak intro. Here is a presentation line that can  drastically hurt your speech.

The Apology / Excuse

“Avoid starting your speech with an apology or excuse.” Several mentors have given me this public speaking tip. Here are a few examples of how not to start a speech.

Sorry, I am not more prepared.

Last night John called me and asked if I could fill in for him.

It’s been a busy week, but we’ll try to manage and get through this.

My power point crashed so it will not look like I want it to.

These lines can deflate our speech and hinder take off. Why do we start with an apology? It may be because we want the audience to feel sorry for us and give us a pass if we don’t do well.  However, we want the audience anticipating our message, and confidently trusting in us as a speaker–not feeling sorry for us.

You want them to have confidence in you that you are going to deliver a speech that brings value to them.

Take out the apology/excuse completely.

If you are unprepared, don’t tell them. They’ll figure it out–maybe. Many times if you do a good job with delivering they’ll never know that you received a notice to speak 30 minutes ahead of time.

Replace apology with explanation–if you must. One time I had car trouble and was 10 minutes late to a speaking engagement. It was clear I was late and everyone was wondering why. I started off by sharing the car trouble story briefly.Then I apologized and launched into the presentation. If I had not explained this situation, everyone would have been wondering “why” throughout the entire presentation. My speech  may have never gotten off the ground.

There are many good ways to open a speech. An apology is usually not one of them.

Arlen Busenitz

Arlen Busenitz is an experienced speaker with over 650 presentations. He is Author of several books, CD's,and creator of Become a Better Speaker in One Evening™

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4 Ways to Start a Speech: Lessons from Patricia Fripp

Question #26: How do I start a speech with a Bang?

In NASCAR the start of the race is critical. Starting with good momentum will help propel the driver to victory. A weak start is very difficult to overcome. Same applies to delivering a business presentation, motivational keynote, or other speech. Start your speech with momentum and you'll be able to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. A weak opening is difficult to overcome. Here are 4 ways to begin a speech or open a presentation. Watch as Patricia Fripp shares how to begin your speech with a bang. Learn more about Patricia Fripp (Aff Link)

Arlen Busenitz

Arlen Busenitz is an experienced speaker with over 650 presentations. He is Author of several books, CD's,and creator of Become a Better Speaker in One Evening™

More Posts - Website

Create High Quality Speeches with Less Prep Time

Question #25: How do I minimize preparation time when preparing a presentation?

speech preparationCan you reduce preparation time and increase the quality of your presentation at the same time? Yes, you can with a specific strategy. The key is to marinate your speech. My friend cooks very delicious food. One of his secrets is to take the meat and/or vegetables and marinate them. He will soak them in a liquid filled with spices, acids, and other ingredients. This process may take hours or even  days. Occasionally he will turn it to help the marination process. Marinating the meat enhances the flavor and creates a very delicious meal. Marinating your speech will enhance the quality and reduce your preparation time. How?

  1. Have your speech done days or weeks ahead of time.
  2. Practice your speech twice a day for three days leading up to the presentation.

When you follow this process, several things will happen:

  1. Brilliant thoughts and additional ideas will pop into your mind.
  2. You'll think of better ways to word it, and take out unnecessary fluff.
  3. You will internalize your speech, so it is a part of you. It will be a very smooth presentation.
  4. You will increase your confidence, because you have practiced.
  5. You will reduce your preparation time.

By working on your speech over a period of days or weeks, you will spend less time staring at your computer screen or notebook. You may jot down a couple notes every evening and slowly build your speech. If you are used to not practicing much, then this extra practice will take more time. However, the quality of your presentation will significantly improve by following the process. Take time to marinate your presentation. You will reduce your speech preparation time and increase the quality of the presentation.

Arlen Busenitz

Arlen Busenitz is an experienced speaker with over 650 presentations. He is Author of several books, CD's,and creator of Become a Better Speaker in One Evening™

More Posts - Website

Question #10: Should You Thank the Audience?

Should you thank the audienceI’ve been told by experienced speakers, “Never open by thanking the audience.” Others have emphatically said, “You must thank the audience when you begin.”

What’s best? Rob Christeson has some great points on this.

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Speaking Tips – Should You Thank the Audience?

Yes.

I love easy questions.

The real question, though, is how should you thank your audience?

First, the two times you should avoid thanking them: the first 30 seconds and the last 30 seconds of your presentation.

Why not start that way? Because the first 30 seconds is when you need to make that connection. Although this touches on another topic,  remember that if you open your speech with pleasantries, including variations of “thanks for having me”  will get your presentation off to a weak start.

Okay, but why not wrap up with “Thank You”? I know…you have seen famous people do it, so it must be okay, right? Wrong. Those last 30 seconds (or even minutes) are the last thing your audience will remember. Make it powerful. Make it memorable. Make it something you would listen to.

Now that you know how not to do it, what about the right way to do it? Glad you asked. You are probably thinking that any type of thank you placed in the dead center of your speech will be…well…dead, or at least out of place, right? That is true. The two times to thank your hosts and/or audience are soon after your opening, or…you guessed it: Right before your closing.

For instance:

“Before I close, I would like to thank Rotary 123 for asking me to speak today…(clap…clap…clap)…the importance of good dental hygiene cannot be overstated…” into your closing. No, I do not speak about flossing techniques. I just wanted to give an example of transitioning into your closing. The point is to treat a “thank you” like you would Q&A: wrap it up before you give your closing statement.

I would like to thank you for reading my post today, you have been a wonderful audience.

Remember the two parts to “Should I thank the audience?”
1. Yes.
2. After the opening or before the conclusion.

If you open your speech with power and close it with conviction, you will have time to express gratitude with grace.
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Rob Christeson is an IT Project Manager, freelance writer and speaker based in Wichita, Kansas. His Talk to the Human™ blog is based on the premise that while on-line social networking, e-mail and text can be very useful for building contacts and staying in touch, nothing beats real live human communication when you need to get stuff done.

See Rob’s Latest Article

Arlen Busenitz

Arlen Busenitz is an experienced speaker with over 650 presentations. He is Author of several books, CD's,and creator of Become a Better Speaker in One Evening™

More Posts - Website

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