Finicky feet and bad moves can sink a speaker! Speaking from the stage is not an opportunity everyone grabs with gusto. Some people can’t wait to get off, while others can’t wait to get on. No matter your level of enthusiasm for public speaking or presentation skills, unless you are a dancer, an acrobat or comedian hugging a microphone, when you find yourself speaking from the stage, there are some moves you should avoid.
1. The Pacer – Pacers are speakers who aimlessly wander all over the stage, moving from one side to the other. Whether it’s due to an over-abundance of energy or a high degree of nervousness, speakers who constantly pace back and forth distract their audience. When an audience is distracted, it can’t possibly pay full attention to what the speaker has to say, and will miss out on valuable information.
Solution: When speaking from the stage, choose designated spots to deliver points for maximum impact. In other words, leverage your speaking space. Never move without a purpose.
2. The Shifters– Shifters tend to stay rooted to one spot transferring their weight from one foot to the other foot, shifting side to side. Or they put one foot behind the other, shifting backwards and forwards. Shifters often give the impression that they are nervous and lacking in confidence.
Solution: Advanced speech preparation and practice is a must. Watch yourself on video, and watch your video more than once. The more times you watch yourself, the more objective you become in your self-assessment. You can also ask for feedback from someone you trust and who you know will be able to provide you with solid suggestions for change, so that you eliminate any misleading mannerisms that could influence the audience in a negative way.
3. The Knee-Knocker Knee-knockers are closely related to the shifters. Instead of having legs straight and feet flat, knee-knockers do alternating knee bends: one leg straight, the other bent; then the reverse. When a speaker bobs up and down, and then up again, the audience sees a speaker who looks insecure and uncomfortable.
Solution: Practice your presentation with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Space your feet ‘shoulder’ width apart. Knees should not be locked tight, but relaxed. Visualize yourself speaking from the stage, standing strong, engaged with your audience and energized. Be aware of your body and practice deep breathing and other relaxation techniques.
As presenters, whenever we are speaking from the stage – we need to eliminate distracting mannerisms if we want to be seen and accepted as competent professionals to our audience. In my next blog, we’ll look at more ‘moves’ speakers should erase when speaking in front of an audience.
If you are interested in in finding out out more about speaking from the stage and polishing your presentation skills, register for my next weekend workshop November 16 & 17 in Abbotsford. http://workshop.artofspeakingforsuccess.com/