The Statue!

speech posture

As in business, speaking has extremes. For example, the opposite of randomly walking around the stage without any purpose, you will find what I call the statue speaker.

This is the speaker that stays in one spot throughout the entire presentation whether it is a 10 minute speech or a two hour presentation. They look as if they are glued to one spot whether they are behind a lectern or standing in the middle of the stage.

The benefit to moving throughout your speech, it forces your audience to use their eyes. As a result, you make your audience watch your actions. Your moving on stage stimulates your audience and allows them to concentrate on you.

Also as you move from one point to another point in your speech, you have the opportunity to stop and pause. This pause you to collect your thoughts and your audience to review what you just said. Being silent is a powerful tool in speaking.

Lastly, your movement on stage lets you release some of your pent-up energy or nervousness. Most speakers have excess energy and by moving you can direct it to different parts of your speech.

Don’t be a statue in speaking, let your movements serve a purpose.


The 3 T’s

  3 ts

One of the simplest ways for speakers to organize their speech involves the 3 T’s. Tell what you are going to tell them. Tell them. Tell them what you just told them.

In your opening you want to give your audience a roadmap of your speech. This beginning segment tells your audience what you are going to speak to them about. It need to be very concise, attention grabbing and gives the highlights.

The body of your speech is the meat and potatoes section. It contains your main points and the supporting sub-points. It is what your audience came to hear you speak on.

The conclusion is where you tie everything together. This is where you remind your audience what you have just told them. You need to have a call to action or powerful statement or leave them with something memorable.

Remember. Tell them what you are going to tell them. Tell them. Tell them what you told them.


You Want to Be Natural on Stage — Exaggerate In Practice


All too often speaking professional gesture a not conveying the message they want. In my experience it is due to the lack of strong and expressive body movement. The cure is to exaggerate your gestures when practicing.
An excellent exercise is to practice with both arms up at shoulder height. Make all your gestures from that position. No doubt you will feel awkward, however, when your gestures are expressive your message is more easily understood. Enhance your gesture when giving a presentation and you will come alive in front of any audience. Exaggerate your gestures in practice and they will just right when in front of your audience.
It is important to keep in mind that gestures are the largest part of your message. The lack of gestures limits your ability to communicate the message you want to convey.

Sleight of hand!


When you watch speakers, it is always fun to look what they do with their hands as they speak. Some speakers hide their hands in their pockets. Others make a steeple or seemed to be praying. Many speakers have no clue on what to do with them and most importantly it shows. Others move their hands with no purpose  as if their hands have a mind of their own. Just as your body movements on stage must have a purpose, so do hands need that same purpose.

First rule to remember is your audience always needs to see your hands move in the first place. Many speakers have a tendency to keep their hand movements down low by their sides rather than higher up near the middle of the chest where everyone can see them. Also, be and stay consistent with any sense of direction you are pointing to.


How to work a stage!


Many times whether you are speaking in front of a large audience or in front of a small meeting, knowing how to control a stage will be crucial to controlling your audience. In order to be successful, you need to practice on that stage before you give the actual speech.

One important aspect is to know your sight lines. You will need to walk all parts of your stage to see if every member of your audience can see you. There maybe columns blocking your audience sight lines. You will also need to sit in the different areas of where your audience sits and you must see what your audience sees.

What kind of lights are used to illuminate the staging area. Maybe there are no lights. Are there dark spots or areas that have too much light. What color are the lights? Is the color warm or cold in nature?

If you are using props, do you have an area on stage to store the props?

It is very simple to control your stage but you must first know your stage, the negatives and positives!


Build Your Vocal Platform 1, 2, 3 …

Have you ever noticed a speaker or yourself becoming breathy while giving a presentation. There is a simple exercise to building a strong vocal platform.

Here is a way to assure that you will have the breath you need when you need it. Stand, yes stand, in the middle of a room. Any room will do. Start by breathing from your diaphragm.
Now take a breath, raise your arm and point your finger to the left corner of the room. Slowly start counting with a strong voice, 1, 2, moving your finger from left to right 3, 4,5. You should now be pointing to the right corner of the room you are facing. Lower your arm and breathe. Did you feel any stress in your lungs or throat? If so, you need to practice this a couple more times. If not, let’s start over.

Repeat the count in a slow, strong voice pointing left to right 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and now turn and continue counting 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Rest your arm and breathe. How do your lung and throat feel now. Were you able to complete it with one breath? If so, great, what you just did is about 10 words.

Let’s test our vocal platform a little further. Repeat and now go from 1 to 15 using three walls as you turn with the objective to do it with one breath. And, yes, when you have this down, you will advance: 1 to 20 using all four walls on one breath and strong voice. Practice until you can do it slowly and with one breath with no distress in lungs or throat. Your mind will tell you how much breath you need for what you are saying, all you need to do is train it so it will not let you down when needed.

Ready, start counting, arm up, take a breath 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, turn, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, turn, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, turn, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. Lower arm, relax and breathe. How do you feel now?

When the Wheels Come Off !!


“No matter how good you are, you’re going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you’re going to win one-third of your games. It’s the other third that makes the difference.”

— Tommy Lasorda

There are two types of speakers: those that have had disastrous gigs and those that will.  Like earthquakes, disastrous gigs come unannounced, wreak havoc, then leave you to pick up the pieces and carry on.  You can’t plan for them (power outage), or take remedial action to avoid them (plane diverted); it could be a shared experience (Fire Drill), or only known by you (they DON’T speak English?!)  It is The Twilight Zone episode that’s about your speaking gig today.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Try these four sure-fire remedies:

Practice Improv Immediately and Often to Be Ready: You’re in a dynamic environment fraught with gak.  Be ready for it and be able to respond to it.

Play up the Shared Experience: It affected everybody, so make the best of it: tell jokes about it. Use Improv.

It’s You They Came To See: Even though they might not be able to see or hear you, it’s your presentation they came for.  Show it to them. Be you. Be Memorable.

Live the Moment: It isn’t every day you perform under these circumstances; live it, learn from it, and vow never to live itagain.

You will never forget the day(s) When the Wheels Came Off.  They are painful learning days.  But whatever that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

A ride to the airport never felt so good.