That’s actually the most common question I get from clients who know what they want to say, but don’t feel confident about their ability to “stand and deliver.” It’s as if they’re afraid their hands will suddenly take on a new identity whose only goal is to make them look ridiculous.
Today’s blog post is about step five of the Speak From Your Soul Solution – Principle. What are the principles of speaking that will support you as you share your message in your own unique way? How do you make the shift from amateur to pro? And what on earth do you do with your hands?
The secret? Go big!
One of the first things to understand about being pro is that it means going BIG! When you speak, you want to be an amplified version of you. Unless you’re sitting in a circle talking to a very small group, your energy and body language should be a bigger version of what they would normally be. Not different – just bigger.
Think about a public speaker you admire and how they act when they’re speaking in front of a group. Now try to imagine that same energy level in a one-on-one conversation. It doesn’t work, does it? One-on-one you’d have the same person, but toned down.
The fun part is practicing this. Start by doing something to get your energy up – whether it’s running or doing calisthenics or zumba or dancing or anything else that’s active and fast. Then get your voice going – either sing loudly, or make siren noises, or nonsense syllables. (If you’re embarrassed to have the neighbors hear you, shut yourself in your bedroom – not your bathroom. The bedroom fabric and mattress will absorb sound, while the bathroom tiles will amplify it!)
Once you’ve made silly noises and are active, then start shouting your talk. Wave your arms around, move, jump, dance – whatever it takes to be completely over the top wild.
Because usually when you’re in front of an audience you become a little self-conscious and you shut down a bit. So if you need to be “bigger” than usual in front of an audience, and you also need to take into account the “shut down” factor, you need to practice at home waaaaaay bigger than you are generally comfortable doing.
Oh, and your hands? Just don’t think about them! I would imagine that the only time you’re aware of a speaker’s hands is when they’re not comfortable and their hands are doing something strange – like playing with their hair, or sticking their thumbs straight out, or tapping on something. But if they’re leaving their hands down at their sides and raising them naturally without thinking about it – you don’t even notice. So the thing to do with your hands is to just leave them at your side until you need them to gesture, and then bring them back down to your sides. It’s that simple!
There are a few other presentation principles that are useful:
• Find a “power place” on the stage or floor where you stand still, facing the audience when you’re making an important point
• Make sure you look people in the eyes rather than skimming the back wall (you want to connect with them, right?)
• If you’re not amplified, then make sure you speak loudly enough
• Breathe! (Out as well as in…)
Have fun! If you want to dance, then dance. If you want to drum, then drum. If you want the audience to sing a song with you, then have them sing a song with you.
There’s no rule that says speakers have to stand still and talk. Make your own rules, and remember to Go Big!