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How Stage Presence Can Boost Your Presentation

A speaker standing still throughout a presentation is dull to watch. The audience may not relate with your message if you don’t show enough interest in delivering it. In the same way, if you move excessively onstage, you may risk distracting your viewers from the content of your presentation. Exaggerated and unnecessary movements only make you look like you’re trying too hard. You should know how to carry yourself under the limelight. Smoothly transition from one point to another using fluid movements.

The Power of Body Language

Dynamic speakers maximize their stage presence by moving around and owning the stage. They also use appropriate body movements that help accentuate their point. Moving purposely and naturally will give you an opportunity to foster a bond with your audience. Being dynamic onstage will endear you to your audience and help you win their attention and favor.

How Stage Presence Can Boost Your Presentation: Captivate Interest

Captivate Interest

A compelling speech and a well-designed PowerPoint deck will only win you half the battle. Ultimately, the success of your presentation lies on how well you deliver it. What’s a good content if it can’t be understood by the audience? When stressing an idea, match your words with the proper gesture and non-verbal cue. Use appropriate body language so as to stress your message. Remember, content, design, and delivery work hand in hand. You need to put equal emphasis on all three for your presentation to be successful.

How Stage Presence Can Boost Your Presentation: Stimulate Emotions

Stimulate Emotions

Certain body movements are so engaging that you can use them to invite your listeners to join in the conversation. You can make your presentation feel like a dialogue rather than a monologue by simply putting a variation in your movements. The more you make your audience feel included, the more you can build rapport with them. Once you have that connection, your audience will be more likely to remember your message and share it to others. 

How Stage Presence Can Boost Your Presentation: Highlight Transitions

Highlight Transitions

When you’re relating a narrative that involves occurrences from the past and present and some hopes or predictions for the future, you can move around the stage to establish the transitions between them. For instance, you can start ambling to one side of the platform to communicate that you’re talking about the past. Then, you can walk to the other side to show a change of perspective. Your audience will get a hint that you’re now talking about the present. Finally, when you return to the center, your audience will know that you’re moving on to future events. Needless to say, you need to make these transitions look and feel natural. Draw a pattern in your movements, but make sure the audience won’t detect it. 

Move with Meaning

Now that you know how important body language is when delivering a presentation, you’re probably wondering how you can use it to your advantage. There’s only one sure way to master this skill: REHEARSE. As ironic as it sounds, rehearsing your movements onstage will help you carry and deliver them with grace. Practice until your non-verbal expressions look seamless and natural. Moving with purpose and meaning will make you look confident onstage. But more important than this, it can make your audience feel more engaged and included. Make sure not to forego an impactful body language.

 

Resources:

Galarza, Erin. “Public Speaking: Developing Stage Presence.” Percolate. February 25, 2015. blog.percolate.com/2015/02/public-speaking-developing-stage-presence

Gallo, Carmine. “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience.” Presensatie. 2010. www.presensatie.nl/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Presentation-Secrets-Of-Steve-Jobs.pdf

Genard, Gary. “The 5 Key Body Language Techniques of Public Speaking.” Genard Method. May 31, 2015. www.genardmethod.com/blog/bid/144247/The-5-Key-Body-Language-Techniques-of-Public-Speaking

Young, Graham. “To Move or Not to Move When Presenting.” Young Markets. October 10, 2012. youngmarkets.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/to-move-or-not-to-move-when-presenting

“Gestures: Your Body Speaks.” Toastmasters International. June 2011. web.mst.edu/~toast/docs/Gestures.pdf

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Pressing Pause: Using Speech Pauses in Presentations

A common misconception is that a speaker must never allow any gaps or pauses in their speech. However, letting silence into your performance can foster a healthy connection between yourself and the audience.

Pausing every now and then projects confidence and a willingness to listen. Depending on how you use them, pauses can improve or hold back your presentation.

Use pauses to your advantage in three ways:

Establishing Your Presence

Starting your presentation as soon as you get onstage can leave you breathless by the time you’re halfway through. Still, taking your time before beginning doesn’t mean you’re just going to stand there silently.

Use the moment to establish a positive atmosphere before you present. Smile and make eye contact to connect to your listeners. This lets them know that you intend on communicating and conversing with them, not solely to drop a few points in a stiff presentation.

You can also take deep breaths to calm you nerves and organize your thoughts. Having time to think about your speech results in more articulate delivery.

Pausing to Emphasize Ideas

One of the most effective uses of a pause is to stress a key point in your speech. Maximize this function by pausing between major ideas you want your audience to remember.

The types of pauses vary depending on the type and importance of the message you’re trying to convey. A brief pause is enough when trying to differentiate between two clauses. On the other hand, a longer break is required when you’re pausing after an entire statement.

Six Minutes founder and speech evaluator, Andrew Dlugan, enumerates the types of speech pauses on his site. Among these examples, the longest pause, also known as the paragraph pause, is used when you’re transitioning from one main point to the next.

The key to this type of pause is to mentally place punctuation marks in your speech. It also adds tone and variety in your way of speaking, further engaging your audience.

Collecting Your Thoughts

You might come across a roadblock in your presentation. An audience member could interject unexpectedly with an awkward or difficult question, or you lose your train of thought somewhere along the way.

In one of her posts on Quick and Dirty Tips, Lisa B. Marshall, host of The Public Speaker podcast, writes: “Take a moment to pause if you get flustered or blank out. Reiterate your previous point and move on to the next one you remember.”

Instead of saying filler words like “ah” and “um”, Marshall suggests you use silence to your advantage. It may look counterintuitive to pause at such a time, but silence lets the audience know you’re thinking of an answer.

Don’t panic if you can’t say the next thing right away. Panicking will only worsen the situation and prolong your pause. Instead, allow yourself a few seconds of thinking before getting back on track.

Conclusion

Used in the right way, silence can help create a powerful presentation. In front of an audience, resourcefulness means maximizing every resource at hand, even the pauses you make in your speech.

Make use of the first few seconds before your presentation to establish your presence and connect with the audience. Speech pauses can especially be used for emphasizing key points and collecting your thoughts during unexpected situations. Just remember to stay calm and composed so you don’t make the pause too long.

Silence isn’t always a bad thing, so start taking advantage of pauses during your next presentation. Need help with your PowerPoint needs? Contact our SlideGenius experts today and get a free quote!

 

References

Dlugan, Andrew. “Speech Pauses: 12 Techniques to Speak Volumes with Your Silence.” Six Minutes. Accessed October 12, 2015. www.sixminutes.dlugan.com/pause-speech
Marshall, Lisa. “5 Tips for Powerful Pauses.” Quick and Dirty Tips. Accessed October 12, 2015. www.quickanddirtytips.com/business-career/public-speaking/5-tips-for-powerful-pauses

 

Featured Image: “[Play] Pause” by Martin Kenny on flickr.com