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On Stage Tips

You will learn from your public speaking course that while you are on stage you are constantly saying on thing while your mind is juggling numerous other things. You need to be always aware of your delivery of the material. You must connect with your audience to convey the message, and paint the picture in their minds with your words or even just your actions, with broad brush strokes, or with fine highlights, and subtle motions, to touch their heart, their mind, and their emotions.

Here are some On Stage Tips that I teach in my public speaking course.

-- The larger the crowd, the larger and slower the gestures.

-- If you have a small crowd, or if you are videoconferencing, or on television, use smaller gestures.

-- Work to eliminate distracting or nervous gestures, but do not kill yourself to add new ones. They will take care of themselves and most of the time they look affected.

-- Let your words trigger your actions. If you are counting, hold out your fingers.

-- Hold your hands behind your back during question-and-answer sessions (don't overdo it).

-- Avoid excessive clenched fists, pointing, hands in pockets, or hands on hips,

-- Avoid the infamous fig leaf position where your hands are crossed in front of your groin. (Will your audience silently groan? And while God will forgive you, will He still kick the pair of you, you and your partner, out of paradise? )

-- Hold your hands open and wide apart to show sincerity and honesty.

-- If you say no, side to side shake your head no. Or if yes, then nod your head up and down.

I know a speaker who stood with, and so sat behind, a controversial presidential nominee for the cabinet during a Senate confirmation hearing. Dressed as a Founding Father with a tri-corn hat, he smiled and shook his head "Yes" when a good question was asked by a Senator, but frowned and shook his head "No" when a Senator asked a bad question.

Very intentionally he sat in view of the Senators, and in the field of view of the C-SPAN TV cameras where hundreds of thousands, or even millions were in the audience. The "Founding Father" never spoke a word, but he "testified" volumes. Head movements can communicate volumes. The Senators approved the nominee.

While awaiting ratification of the Constitution for the United States of America, George Washington said:
"A greater drama is being acted on the American Stage than heretofore has ever been acted in the world."

So when you are "on stage", my tip is to make your public speaking performance a "greater drama" to move your audience to joy or action.


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