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Studies suggest that effective presentations are 55% non-verbal communication and only 7% actual content. Though it can be hard to nail down the indefinable qualities that make a great speaker, it’s important to master the art of speaking on stage if you want to leave your mark on your listeners.

At a glance

  1. MMake the most of your worst moments on stage
  2. AAdjust your content to your unique audience members
  3. SSmile and maintain positive body language
  4. TTalk to your audience on a more personal level
  5. EEngage the audience through humor and laughter
  6. RRemember to maintain a high level of energy

As the master of ceremonies, it’s up to you to command attention while connecting with your audience. As a corporate emcee with over 25 years of experience, I’ve learned exactly what it takes to MASTER the art of stage presence. So let me share it with you!

Without further ado, let me break down these principles with the acronym MASTER.

See Related: 4 Tips For Holding A Microphone From A Corporate Emcee

#1. M – Make the most of your worst moments on stage

Public speaking can be one of the most challenging things you can do. Especially if you’re a newbie emcee, you’re likely full of nerves. And that’s okay!

In fact, you’d be surprised how many people actually suffer from glossophobia or the fear of public speaking. 75% of people have this fear, and it’s even shown that it can truly inhibit your professional life.

So, if you’re feeling nervous or anxious before walking on stage, you’re far from alone.

Though it can be challenging, overcoming the jitters and finding your confidence on stage is essential if you want to wow your listeners and be a great event host. If you’re going to be speaking at an upcoming event, conference, or presentation, you need to master your stage presence.

lady talking to a group of people with notecards stage presence important star power next song play musicians music super fan other artists person singing playing world band playing own performance audience member musicThe fundamentals of building a good stage presence

That brings me to my first point, M: Make the most of even the most embarrassing moments on stage.

The mark of any great emcee is their ability to bounce back, even from a hefty slip-up. Though it would be amazing if every performance turned out to be perfect, that’s not totally realistic.

You’re bound to run into a couple of hiccups!

However, instead of letting these slips and trips ruin the rest of your act, you need to keep going with vigor and confidence. Don’t let anything rattle you!

#2. A – Adjust your content to your unique audience members

An important part of developing a better stage presence is connecting with your audience. But that can be hard to do if you don’t take the time to get to know them.

Pay attention to the demographics of your listeners before you step on stage. This will help you curate a personalized and tailored performance.

Your listeners will know if you are neglectful of who they actually are. For example, it wouldn’t make sense to use modern-day jargon and slang if the crowd is filled with senior citizens.

Know (and really know) your audience. It’s that simple!

woman smiling while talking to people fellow musicians other performers solo performer band members most important thing music playing performers performing singing playing band sound singing playing music singing playing#3. S – Smile and maintain positive body language

Remember when I said that 55% of any performance is based on non-verbal communication? This is a huge part of building a strong stage presence!

There are various types of non-verbal communication, and it’s important to understand how you can use each one to your advantage on stage.

One of the best ways to incorporate non-verbal communication is by smiling. Though this can seem like a simple thing and perhaps even not that important, it’s actually the backbone of any great performance.

Plus, smiling is definitely contagious. If you’re grinning ear-to-ear on stage, those in the audience are sure to feel their face light up as well!

Smiling not only shows your listeners that you’re approachable and relatable, but it also releases endorphins that help you feel good. So, if you’re trying to shake those last-minute nerves, try smiling a bit extra as you walk into the spotlight. It’s more effective than you might think!

#4. T – Talk to your audience on a more personal level

Being a great emcee is all about stepping out of your comfort zone so and using your time on stage to truly connect with your listeners.

Though it can take lots of hard work to truly build a meaningful bond with your audience, it’s the best way to establish charisma and master your stage presence!

You need to focus on reducing the distance between you and the audience. This can be a bit tricky when there’s a physical barrier of the stage between you both, but eliminating that mental divide will help you build connections.

Fuel your speech or presentation with passion and empowerment, and be sure to incorporate plenty of personality and unique stories. It’s all about showing your audience that you are just like them!

woman speaking on stage with a microphone sing career songs musician style band playing practice hear world life singing matter create singing create matter perform watching sound playing crowd song performances playing band

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#5. E – Engage the audience through humor and laughter

If there was some sort of secret sauce that any great performer or emcee had, it would be humor. Laughter is one of the best things you can have on your side, and it will truly help your time performing on stage stand out.

Performing live can be intimidating, but if you have fun on stage, your audience will have a fantastic time, too. Great stage presence is all about putting on a performance, and there’s nothing more enticing than humor, laughter, and joy.

It’s a good idea to also make this a key part of your on-stage persona. Often, stage presence is built on the indefinable qualities that make you you.

This unique aspect will both set you apart as a performer while ensuring that your speech is memorable, enjoyable, and down-to-earth!

man speaking on stage front row perfect example whole stage presence performances as much attention music play song ability person certain charisma playing singer practice playing singing create playing band playing band#6. R – Remember to maintain a high level of energy

Just like your smile, your energy level is contagious.

If it seems like you’d rather be anywhere else than there, your listeners will also want to leave A.S.A.P. However, if your performance is infused with enthusiasm, vitality, and passion, your audience will always feel engaged and energized!

Great stage presence is all about incorporating high levels of energy into your act. This is essential if you want to leave your mark as a great emcee.

However, this is easier said than done. Maintaining that high level of enthusiasm is actually much harder than it seems, especially if you’re not that experienced on stage.

From rock bands to keynote speakers, anyone who spends time on stage knows that the key to staying energized is staying healthy. Before your time on stage, drink plenty of water and make sure you’re not hungry.

Eating nutritious foods, staying active, and committing to a sleep schedule will help you maintain enthusiasm as an emcee in the long run and make your stage presence truly take off!

Wrapping up

Whether you’re looking to spend time on stage singing, playing an instrument, or speaking to a professional crowd, it’s important that you master the art of stage presence. This will be what makes or breaks your act!

From maintaining eye contact to telling personal stories, as a master of ceremonies, it’s up to you to understand the foundation of stage presence. That way, you can truly establish yourself as a great speaker and event host.

Keep Reading: What Is A Run Of Show And Do I Need One As An Emcee?

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 For more event tips, follow Adam Christing on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.