Do you know what your body is saying? Whatever your verbal content, a huge part of the influence you achieve with audiences is due to what you don't say.
Or at least, what you don't say through words. If you have speech anxiety or other forms of stage fright, this is information you certainly need to know.
We recognize poor stance when we see it formed as a result of bad habits carried out over years and evident in many adults. But only few people have a real grasp of the importance and necessity of good stance.
Here are some scintillating steps on how you can boost your stage presence when you are standing on stage or in front of large groups of people.
Avoid the Podium
You will notice that there is often a podium on stage. Do not use it. Because it is restrictive and it blocks you off from the audience. It creates a barrier between you and your listeners. It does not help you create rapport either. Move the podium, do not use it, just use the stage. You want to be walking freely and pacing on stage, not hiding behind a large wooden block.
You can ask for a lapel mic if you feel like your volume needs to be adjusted or if people can't hear you. Do not strain your voice to speak if you are naturally soft spoken. You can always learn to project your voice or go for the microphone, which would be a sensible alternative.
Square your Shoulders and Feet
Make sure your shoulders and feet are pointing squarely directly towards the audience. Do not talk over your shoulders. Wherever you are communicating, you want your feet and shoulders to be pointed towards your interlocutors, the people with whom you are speaking.
It is your natural tendency to want to sway when you have your feet next to each other. Put one foot slightly in front of the other so your feet are staggered. It does not matter if you put your right foot in front of your left or vice versa. Just alternate so you do not get tired while you are standing for a prolonged period of time. Your feet do not have to be too far apart either, just stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Plant your Feet
For a position that will carry you through an entire speech, plant both of your feet flat on the floor. Make sure you feel the connection with the stage. Imagine that you’re a 300-year-old oak tree with roots that go deep and wide into the earth. Like that tree you are firm, secure, and unshakeable. Compare your strong stance now with the weak stances some speakers use, with their legs crossed, leaning on one hip, or even standing with their feet touching.
Distribute your Weight
Evenly distribute your weight so there is not too much weight on your toes. Bear your weight primarily on the balls of your feet. Subtly shift your weight from your toes to your heels, or one foot to the other, if you have to stand for a long time.
Avoid Locking your Knees
Locking your knees will tire you more quickly, especially if you are standing for a prolonged period of time. You do not want your knees to buckle so maintain a weightlifting stance. Have your knees slightly bent and that will allow you to stand for a longer period of time more comfortably.
Studies and anecdotal evidence both support the view that audience members perceive you and judge your competence according to what you show them, in addition to what you say. Many times, your visual behavior is in fact more important to your success than your verbal content.
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