You might have heard that being a successful speaker is 90% stage presence.
Even if you spend countless hours preparing your content to a tee, it will mean virtually nothing if your tone, body language, and delivery are lacking.
At a glance
- S – Smile and connect with your audience members
- T – Tone and timing will have an immense impact
- A – Animated gestures and interactive body language is essential
- G – Grounded posture and confidence will go a long way
- E – Energy and enthusiasm will carry you till the end
Knowing how to master the art of stage presence is essential if you want your time on stage to be memorable (and not in a bad way!)
Luckily, with over thirty years of experience as a corporate emcee, I’ve learned what it takes to do just that.
Keep reading, and I’ll use the acronym STAGE to go over the five main components of strong stage presence.
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#1. S – Smile and connect with your audience members
Before you even start your speech, you’ll give your audience a first impression of who you are as an entertainer and an emcee.
And as your stint on stage goes on, they’ll continue to develop their opinion about you and your content. Be sure they won’t form a negative opinion.
However, much of what they decipher doesn’t stem from the actual words you say.
Instead, they’ll decide based on things like your tone and your delivery.
Good stage presence starts with your facial expressions
Something that will play a huge part in this is your facial expressions.
And one of the first things your audience will notice is whether or not you’re smiling.
Smiling on stage isn’t just about showing your friendly and warm side.
And you shouldn’t smile so intensely or unnaturally that it leaves people feeling uncomfortable.
Instead, a genuine smile is more about helping you form valuable connections with your audience. This will make them more receptive to your ideas and more trusting of your words.
That way, they’ll actually listen to what you have to say, and will welcome it all with open arms!
Don’t underestimate the power of a warmhearted smile
A sincere smile instantly makes you more approachable and sets a positive tone.
It communicates warmth and helps create a friendly atmosphere in the crowd.
#2. T – Tone and timing will have an immense impact
Even if you have the most perfectly scripted speech ready to go, it’ll mean nothing if it’s not delivered properly.
All of your hard work will instantly go to waste if you don’t know how to make sure your content can be properly received.
And the only way to do that is to master the art of tone and timing before you step into the spotlight.
Take time beforehand to practice and experiment with varied tones
While you’re getting ready for your time on stage, don’t forget to try different pitches, paces, and volumes of your voice to find what suits you and your speech best.
Maintaining a dynamic tone will help provide depth while keeping the audience’s attention.
You should also know how to use pauses to your advantage.
Timing is crucial to many things, but it is especially important during a speech, presentation, or performance.
Regardless of how you decide to incorporate tone and timing into your act, don’t forget to make sure it aligns with the mood of the event.
#3. A – Animated gestures and interactive body language is essential
As an emcee, I know the immense power that hand and body gestures can have while speaking.
Animated and lively gestures can provide depth and meaning to your act without you ever needing to open your mouth.
With over thirty years of experience as a Master of Ceremonies on my side, I know how this seemingly simple aspect of public speaking can actually make a world of difference.
Be expressive, without making your gestures too distracting
Using your hands and body to express your emotions and better portray your message is important.
But when performing on stage, don’t forget that too much can be distracting and may overshadow your words.
It’s important to find that happy medium.
And the only way to do that is by practicing and experimenting.
#4. G – Grounded posture and confidence will go a long way
If you’re nervous and fidgety on stage, your audience will notice right away.
And that’s a great way to ruin your stage presence and ensure your listeners won’t care about a thing you have to say.
You likely already know this, but confidence is essential on stage.
The ability to manifest confidence is necessary for any performer, musician, or emcee.
This is truly the lifeblood of your performance!
More confidence means better stage presence
Feel free to fill the entire stage with vivid energy.
This will help you build confidence while creating a sensory experience for your audience.
But don’t just float around like a limp noodle.
Your posture should be grounded and you should have a confident stance.
Showcase your inner confidence while kicking bad habits to the curb
Don’t forget to avoid nervous behaviors like fidgeting, swaying, or pacing.
Even if you don’t normally succumb to these types of practices, you might find yourself biting your nails when faced with the anxiety that comes with being on stage in front of a sea of expectant faces.
#5. E – Energy and enthusiasm will carry you till the end
Now, we’ve reached the fifth and final aspect of amazing stage presence – your energy!
No one wants to show up to a conference, corporate event, or even stand-up show and be faced with a boring speaker who is unsure of their every move on stage.
Every one of the people in the crowd deserves to watch an act that is innately infused with humor, energy, and enthusiasm.
Don’t underestimate the power of humor in your act
If you’re speaking at a conference or corporate event, you might think that you’ll need to steer clear of anything humorous and stick with a purely professional script.
But that’s the opposite of what you should be doing!
Your audience deserves to experience a funny speaker who knows how to keep them entertained.
And that’s also the best way to complement the energy and enthusiasm that you will carry on stage.
Don’t forget to infuse passion into all you do on stage
Now is the time to let your passion for the event, topic, or audience shine through.
And when you genuinely care about what you’re presenting, it’ll further resonate with the audience and help you better connect.
Just be sure to keep the same energy from start to finish.
Project enthusiasm through your voice, facial expressions, and body and hand gestures, and the rest will fall in line seamlessly.
With these best tips in mind, you’re well on your way to ensuring your time on stage is meaningful, memorable, and truly entertaining and fun.
Now, you can finally discover the full potential of your stage presence!
Adam Christing has been called “The Tom Brady of emcees.” He has hosted more than 1,000 company meetings, special events, gala celebrations, and more. He is the author of several books and founder of CleanComedians.com. For more event tips, follow Adam Christing on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.