I missed correctly crediting this article when I posted. This was written a few years ago by my friend Kim Garreffa and first posted here.
When speaking in front of an audience, these tips will help you communicate more effectively on stage:
- Consciously lift your eyebrows. It will immediately brighten your face.
- Smile. A lot.
- Channel your nervousness into your diaphragm. Relax your neck, and your shoulders, and breathe slowly and deeply using your diaphragm. Put any tension you have there. When you breathe in, your stomach should push out. As you breathe out, your stomach should shrink. (Your shoulders should not move when you breathe)
- Hands should be at your sides and still, unless you are using them to express your piece, or are holding a microphone.
- Hold the microphone at an angle it so you are speaking directly into the top of it. The microphone should be 2 to 5 inches away from your mouth—no farther.
- Raise your voice pitch slightly from your normal speaking voice. It will make you sound more energized and less tired. Project your voice to the back of the room, using your diaphragm, not your vocal chords, to increase the volume. Enunciate your consonants.
- Stand with legs shoulder width apart. Stand straight. Don’t lean or slouch.
- Own the message you are communicating. Don’t just speak words. If the message isn’t important to you, you’re not going to make it important to your listeners?
- Make sure you have water handy. Nervousness often causes a dry mouth—often unexpectedly.
- If you are too nervous to look at the audience, look slightly above them.
- Memorize as much as possible before you get on stage. It will be easier to focus on expression and communication.
- If you make a mistake, ignore it and move on. The audience will forget it as fast as you do (if they noticed it in the first place). Facial expressions or comments only draw attention to the mistake and make it easier to remember.