When we talk to a person, or a large group, we are trying to establish a connection. We are trying to reach out to them. We want to connect with the voice and cross the physical distance between us. How do we do this through movement?
At times, when we attempt doing that, at times our head/neck/back relationship gets disrupted. We tend to start pushing the voice, speaking in a higher pitch and start talking AT the audience, rather than TO them, or with them. Notice the difference in intention.
Voice, when used communicatively, is an extension of gesture. It is a movement itself. When a speaker is trying to connect with their audience, a journey is implied. They want the audience to jump in on their journey and feel what they are feeling. This is why inhibition of movement disrupts the energy of the voice.
Try this simple experiment: Imagine yourself to be very light. Walk around the room, and imagine yourself being light. And then give a talk.
After this, switch the exercise. Imagine yourself being very heavy and slow. Walk around your room, and then give a talk. Notice the difference in energy of your voice. Movement carries meaning and message, and helps you connect with your audience.
Here are some tips to ensure you are connecting with your audience through your movements
- Ensure you are warmed up by the time you get on stage. Go for a brisk walk or walk around the block for 5 mins before you are due to present.
- Do your shoulder rolls etc, before you get on stage, to ensure your body is nice and free, and you are not feeling ‘stuck’ in one place.
- If you are talking in a room or stage, mark the areas carefully. Divide your stage area into 4 parts.
- Upstage( furthest away from audience)
- Downstage ( closest to audience)
- Stage LEFT(RIGHT of audience )
- STAGE RIGHT ( LEFT of audience )
Understand that if you are building a story, you want to use all three parts of the room. Starting from Stage RIGHT, DOWNSTAGE, and Stage LEFT. You want to imagine that the audience is seeing and listening to things from their left to right. The left marks the past, or the problem. The centre is to connect with the audience and the right marks the direction you want the audience to head with you.
4) DO not pace up and down the room without any reason or meaning. Map out your talk and move strategically. No one likes a stagnant presenter, and no one connects with a pacer as well!
5) When walking, and positioning, remember to tune into your body language. Check that your knees are not locked and that you don’t have your back overly pulled in. Read my previous blog on postures to recap.
Enjoy the journey you are inviting your audience to! If you are enjoying it, sure chances are, they will be enjoying it too!