10 Jul Turning stage fright into stage presence
What are the stage presence habits that can help you in your next presentation? How can you turn your stage fright into stage presence? CUTESolutions’ content manager Anneleen explains:
Turning your stage fright into stage presence
Seeing Nick Cave on Rock Werchter, I’m telling you: the guy can perform! He is not just a genius musician, but an artist at the same time. You felt the music in your bones and he was able to lift up the entire audience. But how to do this? Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about how to build stage presence giving a great rock-band performance, but I guess it has something to do with being “present” in the moment when you are on stage. And that is a thing I can tell you something about, because I just read the book “Presence” of Amy Cuddy. You probably remember her: the girl with the wonder woman pose, giving one of the most popular TED talks.
So how can you achieve “presence” during your next presentation/meeting/job interview/…?
Stage Presence Habits to boost your stage presence.
Don’t just practice the content of your talk, practice “being you”.
Most people know exactly what they want to say during their next meeting/speech/presentation. But they say it in a very static, almost clinical way. And even if your message is “on point”, if you don’t feel authenticity, your audience will stop listening to you. So think about your personality: what are three qualities of your “best self”? Think about these qualities right before your performance and you will be able to show a more authentic self on stage!
Don’t try to calm down, feel the energy!
If you are not a monk, you won’t be able to influence your emotions a lot. It’s very hard to go from a stressed state of mind, to a calm body. But the worst thing you can do when feeling stressed, is telling yourself that you need to calm down. Don’t do it! It will ruin your presentation. Instead, next time you feel the stress raging through your body, feel the energy, and tell yourself: this is my body feeling energized, enthusiastic and ready to rock this talk! (If you want to have a more positive perspective on the stress you experience, read the book “The upside of stress” of Kelly McGonigal.)
Expand your body.
When you expand your body, your cortisol-levels go down (= stress hormone) and testosterone levels go up. You don’t have to power pose to achieve this effect. Just stand up straight and make sure your weight is on both of your feet. Make your body as large as possible (without looking like an asshole), and use as much physical space in the room as possible. Only use power posing to prepare for a stress-full situation, not during the event. (Just watch this and you will know why ;-).
People who are perceived as less powerful, walk and talk faster. So sloooooooooow down!
Avoid the I-hunch.
Don’t check your phone or read your mails right before you must present, negotiate a deal, have a job interview, … The “I-hunch” (= the position you see almost all people in while they are waiting: checking their phone) will make sure that you feel less powerful to perform. Nice to know: the smaller the screen, the bigger the effect. So if you have to check your mails right before some important event, do it on your laptop instead of on your I-phone.
Don’t focus on you, focus on the content.
A lot of people struggle with the spotlight-effect: we tend to believe that the world evolves around us. That everybody is looking at us, and judging every move we make. But the thing is, most people are busy with themselves. 😉 And even if they watch you give a talk, they are mostly focusing on what you are saying, not you. So stay “in the moment”, and think of the content of your presentation. What is the message you want to bring across? What is the emotion you want them to feel? Your performance and stage presence will be better when you don’t focus on yourself, but focus on them.
Don’t force your body to do some specific gestures.
When it comes to body language, there are so many “rules” to follow that it can paralyze you during an important event. Do I have to mirror the other’s body language? Do I have to laugh a lot? Make more eye-contact? Don’t touch my nose? … It can drive us crazy if we think about it too much. The refreshing idea that Amy describes in her book, is that you just need to make sure that your body and your mind are “in sync”. People don’t mind if you are a bit nervous. You should be if you care! They just want to see you talk about something you believe in.
Conclusion of this all?
The key to being present is relaxation. The more you are “in the moment”, the better your performance will be. Nick Cave wasn’t thinking about anything else but his music. He performed “in the moment” and we were sucked into his moment as well.
So next time, don’t overthink your performance, just be your “present self”.
Anneleen – content manager at CUTESolutions
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