You’re already a body language expert. We all know the basics, but when it comes down to it, everything we know goes out the door. Butterflies starts showing up out of nowhere and our anxiety kicks in. It’s okay to get a little reminder here and there.
FIND YOUR RESTING SPOT:
The stage is yours. It is your moment and all eyes are on you. You can be the most nervous person in the room because you’re about to give an amazing speech and you are definitely feeling the butterflies being unleashed in your stomach. However, no one in the room knows that but yourself. You are the expert and if you mess up no one will know, just like in a dance performance. No one knows your piece better than you do. Own the stage as you walk up.
Your resting spot: Knowing where your stand on stage is important and then analyzing how to move your presence on stage is one of the most effective ways of engaging your audience. Too much of it can ruin your speech as well, but knowing your resting spot in the beginning is safer than going back and forth all over the stage.
GROOVE A LITTLE:
People will dose off when they stare at one spot for too long. How do we keep their attention? Here's how: 1) take three steps to your left and rest for about 10-15 seconds. 2) When you feel comfortable moving again, take another three steps back to your resting spot. 3) Repeat steps 1 and 2. Keep in mind to not overdue it. This is a great method in moving your audiences eye and head subtly. Remember, your audiences to your right and left awaits to hear your speech. Practice makes perfect, you don’t want to end up dancing back and forth too much and get everyone dizzy. Pace yourself.
RESTING PALM & FINGER HEART:
Our hands and arms are some weird fellas. They’re heavy and whimsy. There is nothing much you can do with them. Our hands and arms can be a distraction and make us look like a dancing octopus. Here are two methods I find helpful.
Resting Palm: How our hands present themselves can determine how awkward we look. We know not to cross our arms, not to put them on our waist, and not to put them in our pockets. These postures show ignorance, insecurity and lack of confidence. We want to create comfort for both ourselves and the audience. Here is why the resting palm posture works so well. It is not above your chest, or below your chest. Just right in front of your belly button. This is a great way to show confidence and that you know your content. It’s natural and not harmful to you or your audience. You’re also able to easily sway your hands out for gestures and movements.
Finger Heart: Resting your hands can only get you so far in your speech. What makes it even more memorable and powerful is how you hit your key phrases. I like to call this gesture the “Finger Heart.” We don’t want to be like Uncle Sam where he points aggressively with passion saying, “I want you!” this is too direct and we don’t want to target something or someone specific. Instead, we want to be neutral and natural. The “Finger Heart” allows us to highlight and ease into our key phrases. When you see people point at something it’s pretty important. (if I started pointing at a direction, everyone will eventually start looking) this same thinking applies to when we use the gesture at the right timing with our key phrases, it leaves a bigger impact onto the listener and viewer.
PAUSE & VOCAL VARIETY:
Aside from being aware of your body movements on stage there are two components that we always forget. That is pausing and using vocal variety. People tend to talk fast because we think that when it’s our turn to share our opinions, people don’t want to listen. Small talks are great examples because about 80% of the time people don’t really care, so what do we do? We rush! I’ve encountered this multiple times and I’m not perfect at it. Here are two techniques I use and find very helpful.
Pause: Pausing is your best friend when it comes to public speaking. Using it at the right moment can deliberately change how your audience perceives your speech. Not only is it powerful, but it allows your audience to take in whatever information you’ve just shared. By talking too fast your audience won’t have a chance to comprehend what you’ve just said, instead we want to give them a moment, let it sink in. The movie Matrix has great scenes where it slows down which allows us, the viewers to really see the action and details surrounding the scene. Just like that, we want to slow down and pause making sure that everyone is on board. Pausing is also great for transitional thoughts and filler words for umm, like, and so.
Vocal variety: In every speech there are key phrases that we want to emphasize so our audiences know that it is important. How do we do that? Just like in writing, when you use quotation marks, commas, periods and exclamation marks. When speaking we use our voice. Our voice is all of those I listed combined. When we really want people to listen, we whisper because it draws them closer and it also creates intensity. We want to create intensity. Create that climax by pausing and using vocal variety. It’ll keep your audiences on their toes and letting them know that something important is coming up and they better listen.
Want to learn more about these unwritten techniques and see them explained live? I’d love to chat and show you how effective these techniques can be.