Inspiring Confidence on Stage – The Bluffer’s Guide to Exuding Confidence!
Have you ever watched a confident speaker on stage and wondered how he/she can remain so calm on stage? You may have watched with envy as that same speaker enthral, excite, and engage the audience as they move about the stage flawlessly. Confident or charismatic presentation skills, however, may not come easily to most of us. For some, that little stutter or pause persist even though we have gone through countless practices.
Let’s clarify a misconception – presenting with confidence does not mean having to completely eliminate your stage nerves or anxiety. Your nerves are here to stay, especially if you are presenting on a topic that you care about or are passionate in. The aim is to manage those nerves instead of eliminating them. In short, being nervous is nothing to be ashamed of! The topic on stage anxiety or stage fright, however, may take up a whole volume on its own.
That said, we thought of sharing a ‘bluffer’s’ guide on the body language elements you can focus on to exude confidence. We call this the ‘bluffer’s’ guide because these are quick tips you can immediately implement to ensure that you give the same impression of confidence to your audience. So, let’s jump in!
Tip #1: Embrace Your Audience (Metaphorically)
You hold power in your hands … to pull your audience in and engage them. Of course, we are not talking about magic or superpowers! Instead, your hands are the gateway to projecting confidence to your audience. Depending on the technique adopted, your hand gestures can be the difference between an energetic presentation and a hesitating one.
One body language cluster you can implement is the three-part hand gesture package. First, adopt more open, expansive hand gestures to make yourself appear bigger on stage. Maximise your presence on the speaking stage by moving your hand gestures beyond your body frame. Second, adopt more palms-up gestures. This encourages you to open your body posture/angle out to your audience (think of how you would embrace or hug someone!). Third, match your hand gestures with your speaking speed to create an impression of purpose and coherence. If you are speaking at a faster rate, a more energetic, circular movement may appear intentional and inspire confidence in your ability to present comfortably on stage.
Tip #2: Shout it Out!
We kid, of course! Manage your vocal quality adequately to ensure that your delivery is fluid, persuasive, and convincing. When we focus on the relationship between your voice and stage confidence, we usually refer to the smoothness of our delivery. This is why a slight pause-filler, repetition, or stammer may break the smooth flow of your delivery and indicate the effect of your nerves.
There are three aspects you can consider when developing your vocal quality to inspire confidence. First, adopt a moderate, base pace that is comfortable for yourself and the audience. While we encourage experimenting with modulating pace, it is more important to first identify a comfortable base pace you can rely on if the nerves kick in. Second, use pauses effectively and purposefully. A pause, when done right, does not break the smoothness of your delivery. Instead, it creates a varied and dynamic presentation style. Third, avoid a straining volume when delivering your speech/presentation. This means no shouting simply to increase your volume! Rather, take a more controlled approach by pushing your voice from your diaphragm.
Tip #3: Be Here, There, and Everywhere
We believe that one of the elements of charisma is your ability to take up space on the speaking stage (we don’t just mean your size!). Stage positioning is a powerful tool you can use to show that you can glide along the stage gracefully and confidently. Some of you may see stage positioning as an element of “drama” that is unnecessary for a simple presentation. On the contrary, purposeful and balanced stage positioning can help give a strong impression of confidence.
One aspect to keep in mind while experimenting with stage positioning is to pick out your move spots or your map on stage. Instead of moving about aimlessly (e.g., pacing), identify anchor positions on stage to remind yourself to return to a stable standing posture after you completed your movement. Remember to avoid any break in the other body language elements such as your hand gestures, eye contact, or even your vocal quality.
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As a cluster, these body language elements are a quick way to focus on giving the impression of confidence before the crowd. Like we shared, it may take some time for you to pick up the stage anxiety or stage fright management. However, in the interim, these body language features can be a quick technique to focus on as you master your time on stage. We hope that with this guide, you can exude confidence on stage (while keeping those butterflies in your stomach well-behaved)!
By The Way…
If you’re keen to take your public speaking skills & presentation skills (either business/corporate presentation / training for presentation to clients / kids in-class presentation) to the next level so that you may communicate and deliver speeches with greater flair and charisma, feel free to check out our offerings below!
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