The Stage Is Your Friend

As a speaker, the stage is a tool to give your speech more impact
As a speaker, the stage is a tool to give your speech more impact
Image Credit: Rokok Indonesia

As speakers, we really don’t have all that many tools that we can work with to show the importance of public speaking when we are delivering a speech to an audience. Sure we have our voice and some body language, but is there anything else that we can use to give some impact to our speech? It turns out that the answer is yes: the stage that we are standing on. All too often, speakers don’t fully understand how to make the best use of this wonderful tool. It’s there to help you to transform your speech into a spellbinding presentation.

Use Blocks To Give Your Speech

When you think about the stage that you will be occupying during your speech, you need to make sure that you don’t think about it as though it was just one place. Instead, you need to take the time to break it up into a collection of separate blocks. The reason that you are going to want to do this is that you’ll want to be able to move to specific areas of the stage at specific points in time in order to stress a point that you are trying to make in your speech. Your movement will be done to achieve a dramatic effect.

Restrict Your Movement

Although a stage gives you the opportunity to wander just about anywhere that you’d like to go, you need to be very careful. You are going to want to be sure that you don’t move on stage unless you have a motivation to do so. The one thing that you are not going to want to do is to pace back and forth on the stage. This will just communicate to your audience that you are tense or upset and that will serve to make them tense or upset. What you need to keep in mind is that if there is no reason for you to move to a new location while on stage, then don’t do it.

Different Characters / Different Places

In most of our speeches, there comes a time when different people are interacting. When this occurs in your speech, allow each of the people that you are talking about to occupy a different spot on the stage. Keep in mind that this does not have to be a big move. Rather, a single step to either side can do the trick. Your goal here is to provide each character in your speech with their own piece of real estate.

Use Your Entire Body

One of the biggest advantages of being able to use the entire stage is that you will be able to fully use your body to tell your speech. This means that you can’t just think about your speech, you are actually going to have to feel what you want to say. Since you can move to any place on the stage to deliver your speech, pick a spot and plant yourself there. Then deliver your speech like you really mean it. Your audience will both hear your words and see your body language and you’ll be able to get your message across to them.

What All Of This Means For You

As speakers we stand before our audience with very little to work with. We’ve got our speech, our voice, and with a little luck our confidence. However, when you are also permitted to make use of the stage that you stand on, then all of sudden you have another powerful tool that you can use to connect with your audience and show them the benefits of public speaking. You just need to make sure that you know how to use it.

Although the stage may look like a large unstructured space, as a speaker you need to view it as a set of connected blocks. Each one of the blocks can be used to support a different part of your speech. Although it may seem as though you can spend your speech wandering all over the stage, you really can’t. You need to make sure that all of your movements have a purpose and that your audience understands why you are making the movement. If your speech has different characters interacting, then pick out a spot on the stage for each of the characters to occupy. When they speak, make sure that you are in that spot. Finally, we all know how important body language is when we are giving a speech. When you can use the entire stage, this give you an opportunity to position yourself so that your audience can take in your entire body and allow your body language to communicate your message as well as your words.

The goal of any speech that we give is to find a way to connect with our audience so that we can get our message across to them. When we have an opportunity to use the stage that we will be presenting from as a part of our speech we need to take full advantage of it. However, the stage is a double edged weapon – if we don’t use it correctly, it can end up taking away from our speech. Learn how to make the most of your stage and then prepare to give the best speech that you’ve ever given.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that there is any part of a stage that a speaker should never use?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So here’s an interesting question for you: could you drive your car if it didn’t have any mirrors. I’m thinking that the answer would be yes, but boy-o-boy would we all be nervous as we first backed up, and then headed off down the road. We’d have no idea what was behind us or what might be passing us on either side. Driving would turn into a bit of a nightmare. Now we all do have mirrors on our cars and that’s a good thing. However, it turns out that those mirrors are not perfect – we can still have blind spots where things (cars, people, bikes, etc.) can exist and we can’t see them. This can be a big deal. Is it possible that when we are giving a speech we may also have blind spots that we don’t know about?

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