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Improv Games for Stage Presence

Improv Games for Stage Presence

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We talk a lot about stage presence here at the She Said Project. And that’s because it’s not only an important skill for our story-sharing events but also because a strong presence (on stage or otherwise) is an important skill for women in all areas of life. 


Think about the difference a strong presence can make in a boardroom, a classroom, or even a family room. We believe all women deserve to develop skills such as eye contact, projecting their voice, and pacing. And the good news is that developing these skills can be fun! 


In fact, when we help women prepare for the stage, there’s always a lot of laughter and smiles. Keep reading to discover how we do it. 


The Power of Games 

When you’re preparing for a high-stakes public speaking event, it can be helpful to use games to loosen some of the tension. They’re a great way to take some of the pressure off and have fun. 


Games give you the opportunity to experiment with your voice and challenge yourself without the fear of looking foolish. Plus, they’re often a very tactile way to explore soft skills. And, not least important, they’re fun! You may not think of laughter as an important part of the preparation, but it is. 


We get women to laugh using a handful of games including: 


Zip, Zap, Zup 

Zip, Zap, Zup is an improv game that challenges you to stay in the moment, practice eye contact, and sense others’ energy. 


It involves standing in a circle and passing the words zip, zap, and zup to each other. The challenge is to be ready at any time for the word to come to you so that you can pass the next work on to someone else. 


The fact that the words are gibberish adds a layer of silliness that doesn’t allow anyone to take themselves too seriously during the game. 


Intention & Inflection 

Another game we play with She Said Speakers to prepare them for the stage is called Intention & Inflection. This game involves giving speakers a single line of dialogue – something like “Oh hello, it’s been a long time.” 


Their task, then, is to deliver this line of dialogue in different scenarios. One scenario might be to deliver the line to your boss whom you’re trying to impress for a promotion. Another scenario could be to say it to a neighbor whom you suspect stole your Amazon package. Or to your long-lost grandmother. 


You can imagine how differently the line would be said in each scenario. This game gives you the opportunity to play with your voice. It also becomes clear during the game just how many different meanings a single line of speech can have depending on intonation. And it drives home the message that it’s not what you say, but how you say it that matters. 


She Said Stage Presence 

Playing these games during That’s What She Said rehearsals is a key piece of our secret sauce (and how we ensure incredible performances time after time). If you’d like to see the stage presence that results from these improv games, grab a ticket to our next show – we’d love for you to join us!

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