How to Own the Stage: Public Speaking Mastery

Every time you step onto a stage to address an audience, you are presented with an opportunity. An opportunity to inspire, inform, entertain, and yes, to own the stage. But how does one truly command attention, resonate with an audience, and leave an indelible mark (they own the stage!)?

Let's dive deep into the art of mastering the stage and standing out. As we go through, I'll pepper in some amazing TED Talks (and maybe a not-so-amazing one) to illustrate the points. And stick around for a fun challenge at the end that might just have you commenting!

1. To Own the Stage, Begin With Passion

When you are genuinely passionate about your topic, it shows. Your energy, excitement, and enthusiasm become infectious. One such speaker who exemplifies this is Sir Ken Robinson. In his famous TED Talk, “Do schools kill creativity,” Robinson’s genuine passion for education and creativity shines through. Every word he speaks resonates because he believes deeply in what he's saying. How would you rate your passion of your topic?

2. Own the Stage by Engaging Your Audience

Engaging the audience goes beyond just making eye contact. It's about interacting with them, asking questions, telling relatable stories, and even leaving them with thought-provoking statements. Take for instance, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's talk on the danger of a single story. She weaves personal anecdotes with broader issues, making her message relatable, enjoyable, and memorable. What stories and anecdotes are you using in your talks?

3. Use the Power of Body Language to Own the Stage

Body language can make or break a presentation. Confidence, openness, and approachability can all be projected through simple movements and posture. Watch Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on “Your body language may shape who you are.” Notice her deliberate use of the stage, her gestures, and how she uses body language to underline her message. Her tips on body language are fun! What do you do with your hands when you speak?


4. To Know How to Own the Stage, Know What Not to Do

Sometimes, understanding what not to do can be as instructive as knowing what to do. Without naming names, here’s a politician speaking to the Star County Republican party that might not exemplify “owning the stage.” Notice the speaker's screaming, his misplaced use of tone and inflection, minimal use of the stage, and his movement back and forth to the podium. Although it isn’t a monotonous delivery, it could be done much better with a little coaching and practice. Use it as a reference point for areas you might want to work on.

5. When Owning the Stage, Authenticity is King

People can sense when someone is putting on an act. Authenticity fosters trust and connection. In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's compelling TED Talk, "We Should All Be Feminists," her authenticity shines through her heartfelt and vivid storytelling, drawing from her own personal experiences growing up in Nigeria. She speaks with a passion and conviction that is palpable, using humor and vulnerability to connect with her audience on a deep, emotional level, thereby embodying the principles she advocates for and making her words resonate powerfully. What techniques do you use to be authentic when delivering a talk?

6. Owning the Stage Comes with Practice

Finally, remember that like any skill, the more you practice public speaking, the better you'll get. Whether it's rehearsing in front of a mirror, a friend, or joining a group like Toastmasters, practice is key. How would you rate your ability to own the stage?

Own the Stage Bonus Challenge!

So, dear readers, I have a challenge for you! Think of the last time you had to "own a stage,” whether it was presenting in a meeting, speaking at an event, or even just confidently voicing an opinion. Share your experiences in the comments below. What worked? What would you do differently next time?

Your stories will not only help you reflect but will provide real-world examples for others to learn from. Let's own our stages together! 🌟

Owning the stage isn't just about how well you can speak; it's about connecting, engaging, and leaving an impact. By focusing on these principles and learning from both exemplary and lackluster speakers, we can all take steps toward public speaking mastery. Happy speaking!

About the Author

Hi! I'm Pam. I teach entrepreneurs to be fearless & compelling speakers online and in person and how to easily promote and run their own online workshops, webinars, and online courses. 

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