On Stage Tips
In the art of public speaking, while on stage you are thinking of many things while focusing
on one, connecting with your audience to convey the message, to paint the picture in their
minds with your words or even just your actions, with broad brush strokes, or with fine
highlights, and subtle motions, to touch their heart, their mind, their emotions.
In the art of public speaking, some On Stage Tips:
-- The larger the crowd, the larger and slower the gestures.
-- If you have a small crowd, or if you are videoconferencing, or on television, use smaller
-- Work to eliminate distracting or nervous gestures, but do not kill yourself to add new
ones. They will take care of themselves and most of the time they look affected.
-- Let your words trigger your actions. If you are counting, hold out your fingers.
-- Hold your hands behind your back during question-and-answer sessions (don't overdo it).
-- Avoid excessive clenched fists, pointing, hands in pockets, or hands on hips,
-- Avoid the infamous fig leaf position where your hands are crossed in front of your groin.
(Will your audience silently groan? And while God will forgive you, will He still kick the
pair of you, you and your partner, out of paradise? )
-- Hold your hands open and wide apart to show sincerity and honesty.
-- If you say no, side to side shake your head no. Or if yes, then nod your head up and
I know a speaker who stood with, and so sat behind, a controversial presidential nominee for
the cabinet during a Senate confirmation hearing. Dressed as a Founding Father with a
tri-corn hat, he smiled and shook his head "Yes" when a good question was asked by a
Senator, but frowned and shook his head "No" when a Senator asked a bad question.
Very intentionally he sat in view of the Senators, and in the field of view of the C-SPAN TV
cameras where hundreds of thousands, or even millions were in the audience. The "Founding
Father" never spoke a word, but he "testified" volumes. Head movements can communicate
volumes. The Senators approved the nominee.
While awaiting ratification of the Constitution for the United States of America, George
"A greater drama is being acted on the American Stage than heretofore has ever been acted in
So when you are "on stage", my tip is to make your art of public speaking performance a
"greater drama" to move your audience to joy or action.