What’s the key to a strong stage presence? You may think that the best public speakers have some special, innate charisma – but that’s not entirely true. Your stage presence can be influenced by a simple, yet essential concept: how you practice.
Practicing in any form is good. But if you want to level up your stage presence and leave the audience feeling like you are really connected with them, you have to practice the right way.
One of the most common mistakes we see folks make when practicing for a public speaking event is limiting their practice to the mirror or practicing in front of only one other person.
When you step onto a That’s What She Said stage, you’re stepping out in front of hundreds or thousands of people – and that requires a much larger amount of energy, volume, and physicality than you might be used to in a boardroom or a classroom.
So when you practice, you have to practice BIG. In other words, you have to practice taking up more space, being louder, and bringing greater energy. It can be hard to do this when it’s just you and your reflection in the mirror.
Will it feel awkward? Yes, it probably will. But feeling awkward during practice is a sign that you’re doing it right! Once you step on stage and have a room of 1200 people to speak to, your larger-than-life practice will feel much more appropriate and less awkward.
The bigger the audience, the bigger your stage presence
One thing to remember is that most of the time on stage, you’re speaking to darkness. When the spotlight hits you, you may be able to see faces in the front row, but you won’t be able to see 95% of the audience. The trick is to remember that you’re not only speaking to the people you can see in the front row – you’re speaking to everyone all the way to the back of the auditorium.
So while you may feel like your presence on stage is over-the-top, remember that the people in the back of the audience may be wishing that you were even louder and bigger!
If you feel awkward, you’re doing it right!
Public speaking in front of a large audience is not normal for most people. So it shouldn’t feel normal when you practice for it! In fact, if you don’t feel at least a little bit awkward, you’re probably playing too small.
When you lean into going big, it’ll translate into your voice, energy, and eye contact. It will let you connect not just with the front row, but with people in the back whom you can’t even see from the stage.
Witness how That’s What She Said speakers master their stage presence at our next show. View the schedule here.