One of the secrets of great speakers is generating high-energy stage presence. Here's how to speak with power while commanding a stage!
Want a head start in becoming a powerful and memorable speaker? Consider this fact:
Public speaking is an exchange of energy.
If physics interests you, consider Isaac Newton’s Third Law: For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. In other words, if you speak with sufficient energy, audiences will return the favor with a high level of engagement and interest.
Do you know how to make the audience the center of your universe? Great speakers understand how to engage and move listeners. Learn how to be good—really good—at speaking successfully in high-stakes situations. Download my essential cheat sheet, The 6 Rules of Effective Public Speaking.
You can also think in terms of an energy field or "bubble" that encloses you and your entire audience. Your job is to fill that bubble with enough vocal energy and animation to allow everyone involved to feel connected.
Energized and energetic speakers give that impression to audiences.
It's as though practiced speakers take hold of their listeners' imaginations and say: "Listen to this!" A speech that doesn't literally embody enough energy on the part of the speaker remains earthbound. As an actor, I did my best to provide intensity to every performance, and I do the same as a speaker. Your listeners require the same from you.
Here are a dozen ways to make clear to everyone present that you have the energy and vitality to speak for leadership.
Twelve Ways to Be a High-Energy Public Speaker
- Display Confidence in Everything You Do: Confidence in a speaker begets confidence (and trust) in an audience. Listeners will simply believe in you and the vision you're offering if they sense that you're committed to it without question.
- Show Your Passion. Nothing compels attention more than a speaker who believes with all his or her heart in an idea. Interestingly, passion also overcomes weak platform skills, which simply become consumed in the fire. Playing it safe, in other words, isn't safe.
- Craft a Strong Opening and Closing: The most critical parts of your speech are your launch and your wrap-up. Your audience is paying the most attention at these times, and will remember most strongly what you give them at these points in your talk. Here are 12 foolproof ways to open a speech or presentation.
- Lay Out for Your Audience Where You'll Be Going Together: Let the audience know up front where you'll be going together in terms of your topic and main points. Audiences want to trust that they’re in practiced hands, with a speaker who knows the territory.
- Learn the Art of Being Conversational: Even the highest profile speeches tend to sound conversational these days. However important your message, listeners will respond better if you sound like you're just sharing some thoughts with them, rather than speaking from on high. Here's how to use your vocal tools for a great performance every time.
- Achieve Clarity and Conciseness: Leaders are sometimes afflicted with a terrible disease known as the I Can Talk About This Forever Syndrome. As subject experts (or powerful CEOs), they don't feel the need to prepare for a presentation. Follow their lead, and your talk may truly feel like forever for your audience. Being clear and concise shows you care.
- Take Charge of the Stage: As a public speaker, you have a stage to command—whether it's the "boards" in an auditorium or the space in front of a conference room table. Pair your movement with the main parts of your speech; and again, be purposeful. Don't wander!
- Discover Storytelling: You need to make storytelling the trusted friend that you come back to visit again and again. Data is fundamental, but too often it won't get to the emotional heart of what you're saying. Stories ignite people's emotional response. You need that to happen. Learn how to use the power of storytelling for great public speaking!
- Use Strong Body Language: What an audience sees is an important part of how they’ll judge you. Be the picture of self-assurance. Use spare, clean, and powerful gestures. Learn my 20 ways body language can make you a better speaker.
- Employ Vocal Dynamics: If your voice isn’t an asset in your public speaking toolbox, consider getting some coaching in vocal skills. Your voice is your most reliable tool for influencing others. If it doesn’t compel people to listen, you’re at a disadvantage. Here are the 5 key tools of vocal dynamics that will help make your voice that compelling.
- Speak in Metaphors: Employing metaphorical language will help make your speeches vivid and memorable. Nothing makes a concept come to life, with concreteness and power, like a comparison an audience can instantly relate to. Light up the sky with your fireworks.
- Find the Physical Dimension of Your Message: Despite our Digital Age, you're not a talking head, and your speech or presentation needs a physical dimension. Ask yourself if you truly embody your speech. Listeners will buy your persona if it's active and interesting.
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