Have you ever been told your stage presence was “duller than a box of rocks?”
To clarify: It’s a special level of suck.
A straight-talking mentor gave that feedback years ago after seeing me deliver a speech. At the time my wounded ego just wanted to resign from public audiences altogether.
Studying stage presence and public speaking, however, became a fascination. And to this day, how to energize stage presence remains the most popular question from colleagues, students, or clients.
They are often bewildered at what to do.
Which is understandable. Causes could be rigid or feeble vocals, over-accelerated pacing, anxiety management or a sundry of things. Sometimes it’s purely a content issue where certain writing vehicles can add momentum to the presentation. Much of the time, the content is solid and the stage presence needs help.
Energy, impromptu storytelling, and social apps
A colleague further framed this challenge so well and asked,
How can I make my energy more consistent from a stage presence point of view?
Presenting in front of a live audience and feedback community is stellar practice for stage presence – such as Toastmasters or Ignite. In lieu of those defined public scenarios, there’s another option.
An absolute favorite and results-inspiring solution is to practice with social applications.
Practice impromptu storytelling and externalizing your voice as often as possible with a few audio and video tools (smart phone apps included). Keep your recordings private if that’s preferred.
Investing conscious energy in this exercise a few minutes a day can expand energetic capacity when facing live audiences.
Suggestions for social tools:
- Audio apps:
Audioboo.fm or cinchcast.fm are mobile and web platforms with reliable audio, a simple interface and the ability to add other types of media to your audio casts. Both have apps for iPhone and Android;
- Video and group apps:
- Viddy is emerging as the Instagram of video: it enables 15 seconds of recording with visual filters. Talk about energizing your mind and vocabulary in a hurry! It’s a compelling tool with some major growth since its recent launch.
- CloudTalk is another fascinating platform with both iPhone and Android apps. It allows you to share video, audio, and text to public users or to a private group
- Blurb, a storytelling app, looks fascinating but I’ve yet to toy with it.
Perfection vs progress
When it comes to upping stage energy, nothing replaces the chance to practice in front of live audiences from a defined stage space. Often, waiting for perfect circumstances inhibits ultimate progress; so I vote for creating a stage-like dynamic with social tools as the above-mentioned. What do you think?!
Becoming your own best audience
Whether recording via audio or video, these tools (and you) become your own reliable audience. And the chance to practice impromptu storytelling or simply get your voice out of your head is an energetic exercise. From my personal work and through observing others too, this practice has fostered more fluid and energized presence from the stage.
Are you game to try these exercises?
What other ideas have helped you galvanize your own stage presence?
Live Your Talk founder and videoblogger Jill Foster is a speaker coach for people in technical and social tech fields (or as some say: a speaker coach for techies). She has coached CEOs, entrepreneurs, and innovators makin’ it happen for stages such as TEDand TEDx, Ignite, plus a variety of keynotes around the globe.