Haris Ahmed of Chicago Firm Pragmatium Consulting Inc. on Stage PresenceHaris Ahmed Chicago Consultant, Speaking for Success with Stage Presence
Haris Ahmed (Chicago) management consulting firm Pragmatium Consulting Group Inc. is an experienced facilitator and has led numerous leadership workshops and team-building sessions. Read his blog below about developing one’s stage presence.
Public speaking is performance – remember this and you’ll never have to worry about whether you’re good enough. Fear of public speaking is far more common than you think. Unfortunately, most of the time, people bring their insecurities up with them on the stage, which is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. However, by truly understanding that public speaking is a performance, you can disassociate from those insecurities and perceived weaknesses running amok in your mind and concentrate on the task at hand.
Many people view public speaking as an intimidating activity. This fight or flight scenario triggers the sympathetic nervous system, which causes symptoms such as a faster heartbeat and shallow breathing. While little may be done to fight such physiological responses, speaking for success isn’t impossible. Just take a cue from theater actors, comedians, and anyone else who’ve had to make a living performing on stage. They seem to be full of charisma and their stage presence is often commanding. They make public speaking look like a cinch. Fortunately, the skills needed to master public speaking can be learned and honed. Here are little things one can do that can make a big difference in their performance:
1. Be confident – Remember those insecurities you unwittingly bring up on the stage? It’s normal to have insecurities, but you’re putting on a performance here, so the next few minutes will now be less about you, and more about the audience. This means that you should radiate confidence. Those insecurities are not you; they do not define you nor do they guarantee your failure. As mentioned, public speaking is a common fear. As such, you should take pride in the fact that you’re brave enough to go up on stage and speak in front of hundreds of people. Few have the courage to do so and this thought should help boost your confidence.
2. Own your message – The point of using note cards should be made clear; these keep you on track when you forget what to say next, ensuring your speech stays cohesive. Note cards should not be read from. In fact, doing so might give off the impression that the speech you’re presenting is not your own. That said, you can effectively own your message by practicing and inserting your own stories and experiences in it.
3. Dress the part – When you wear clothes that make you look chic or dapper, you give yourself a big confidence boost. It’s like putting on new skin that makes it easier for you to act your role. For your next big speech, try wearing the clothes you’ll have on during your presentation whenever you practice. This may help put those nerves at ease faster as you would have gone through the motions of your speech several times before already.
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