Practice Taking the Stage


Strengthen Your Stage Presence


Lesson Info

Practice Taking the Stage

So, we want to move into our next section, called, Practice Taking the Stage. So we've already had a little bit of practice, and now we want to start to put all of those things together. So, it says, put it together. So, we want you to be able to come up here and practice that, kind of finding your landing. Taking a moment to even do in your head, internally if you need to. I love my spot, what do I like about it, what do I feel good about. So there's no pressure to get up here and speak quickly. You're allowed to come up here, plant yourself, feel confident, take the stage. And then we have a list of things that we would like for you to go through. You can see it here, if you're up here presenting we also have a monitor there that you can look at. My eyes can't read that far. But we want you to really get up here and just say, your name, say one or two sentences about why you usually present, or even, and then, what you hope to get out of this course. So, very simply, state those thin...

gs in whatever way you feel is right. We're going to have more than one person try this. So, I want to mention that whatever the first person does, doesn't mean that you have to imitate them. So if you're idea of how to accomplish this was different, you wanted to talk more, you wanted to talk less. Whatever that is, that we're looking for you to get up here and be able to express that yourself. So think about all of these things, the things you said you wanted to work on. The way that we can play around with being present. Feeling vocally warmed up. And then gauging all of those different faculties so that you can connect to your audience. Who would like to be our first volunteer up here? As they're so politely looking around to each other, I love that. (audience laughter) Taking care of each other. I see Alva moving. Well, oh yay, sure, I'm calling on you. You were moving, I got excited that you were going to come here. Give her a round of applause. (audience claps) You stand wherever you want. You stand where you think feels right. And if you get in a spot and you're like, "Oop, that's not it." Then you can find a different spot. Yeah, take time to get yourself grounded and comfortable. Whatever you need to do to feel ready. And then just introduce yourself. Give us a couple of sentences about why you might present, and then what you hope to get out of this course. Hi, my name is Alva Ackley, and I'm here because I make presentations occasionally to therapists, and to health professionals, and to interns for those fields. I feel it's really important for them to learn about improvisational skills. And the way we can be more playful and fresh in the moment. Because so much of those educations are oriented towards specifics, I like to help them find more life into each moment. And not just always fall back onto the studies that they have. I'm here because I feel as though I'd like to explore other things and present myself more strongly, so. Yeah (applause) That was so good. Stay up, will you stay up here with me, yes? I'll try now. What were some things that Alva did that you really appreciated and noticed? Yeah, John I thought you were extremely authentic, especially at the end, about what you wanted. And it was very passionate. Why did that authenticity matter, can you talk more about that? Um, What does that do, I guess, is maybe a good question. Just made you seem real, and earnest, and interesting person. There was nothing, you clearly were excited, and there was nothing, you weren't here because someone told you to be here. Or you thought you should be here. You had sort of immediate and then long-term goals. Yeah, great, what else did you notice? Oh, yes. I loved your cadence, I thought you spoke slowly, but intentionally, and you didn't have any filler words. So good job. Wow, thank you. Yeah, I'm working on those filler words myself. It's a work in progress. Anything else that you noticed, that you want to make sure to let Alva know that you noticed, about that stage presence? Yes. I would love to see you come into the stage in a more comfortable way. Like taking that stage, not crawling, like you're not supposed to be here. And you're put on the spot. But coming to the stage like, "I'm here to conquer the world." Do you feel like she got there by the end of talking? Did you feel that from her. That she owned it a little bit more? Yes. Yes. Yes, yes, I'm talking about the moment when she was entering the stage. Yeah, and that's a great, thank you for mentioning that, because I think we all feel that. I know I feel that when I get called where I'm sort of like, I guess this is happening now, right? And so wondering how do we sort of, from our seats even, or before we come on the stage, doing that work of, like, I am that super hero. I am that super model. Or whatever that is, that I've got this. Whatever it is, I've got it. And even if it's a fake it till you make it situation, sometimes. But that body language can tell us as an audience, but also, maybe, tell you as the person, like, I got this. And you did, it was fantastic. Thank you for being our first volunteer. (audience applause) Oh, you know what, I didn't ask you, Alva, how that felt. I'd like to as you how it felt. You can sit or you can come back up here, whatever you want to do. I sort of lost, I felt as though, at some point, I lost my words, and then I reattached to what was real for me. Oh, great. Yeah, I didn't feel as though I had rehearsed any words, so. But you hadn't, I hadn't asked you to. Yeah. Yeah, great, I want to articulate, for me anyway, Watching you, I didn't feel a moment of you losing track. I didn't feel that personally. Did anyone else feel that? Yeah, so I think that's one of those great moments of when we go back to stage fright too, of a lot of the stuff that happens for us is happening internally, and it's isn't expressed externally in a way that anyone else notices. So, sometimes, those panics, or those feelings that we have, it's forever in our head, but for the audience, it's a millisecond. Yeah, oh, yes? I also felt as though, you were with me. I felt as though, you wanted me to do well. So that was really nice. Yeah, yeah, I have a pretty great audience. Everyone's very supportive. One of the things we like to say a lot is when you are presenting, especially when it's in front of a big group, where there might be nervousness, is look for the givers in the room. So sometimes we get focused on the person who isn't giving us what we want in the audience. Who's on the phone or taking notes. I don't know what their doing. So I fixate, and I want to make them listen. When really, maybe we should be giving our energy to the person who's nodding and who is with us. And sort of consistently go back to that person for the, that connection of, oh, they're with me, they've got me. Probably everyone else does too, but there may be individuals that who have that body language that clearly express that for us, in a way that's nice to feel. Right, and it feels so good. You don't always get a whole room of this, right? And it's really nice. I'd love someone else to come up and try it. We have time, yeah? Yeah. I'd love for someone else to come up and try. Now that you know what it is. And you can do it in your own way. Or you can do it exactly like Alva did it. And take note of some of the things you said at the beginning of the class. And try to embody those. Those are your crowd sourced, best practices for stage presence. Yeah, John, are you ready to begin? Great. Okay Might do another one. So find your spot, don't rush to it. You've already been up here, so you're comfortable with it. But find where you really want to be. And it's back there too if you can see that. I'm Jonathan Lipman, I give talks to groups from China and Europe. And they're actually pretty small, usually. 20 to 50 people. I'm here because I really find that I really enjoy connecting with these people from other countries. And I want to figure out how I can move away from my more scripted practice, because I'm a writer, to having a little big of script and more just engaging with the people that day from Beijing, or Portugal, or wherever it might be. Thanks. Yay. Very good. (applause) John, stay up here with me. We're gonna give you even more stage time. Stay here with me, man. Talk a little bit with Johnathan. What did you notice that you thought he did really well, or some things that engaged you, or you appreciated? Oh yeah, Michelle, did you have an idea? Well I was just going back to our list, so the empathy and the connection, and I was immediately, something went, I'm interested in international. So, there was an easy ability to connect. The empathy maybe in the story as well, right. So maybe telling us a little bit of a story even in that moment. Yep. Yeah, what else did you notice and appreciate about his presentation? [Woman With Glasses] Smiling and eye-contact. Smiling and eye-contact, yes. What were you going to say, Jared? I think that his volume was really good. And I could hear everything he said very clearly. And very well pronounced. And so it's always great when the volume is so good that it just reaches you. Yeah, and a variety in volume too. Yes. Right, there's a nice variety in voice, in that way. Alva? It was really nice that it didn't seem rehearsed at all, it seemed as though you were speaking to us. Yeah, very conversational, which is what you said you want to do. We already did it. (audience laughter) Yay. Awesome, thank you. Oh, how about you, see, what was your experience like, tell us? You know, the funny thing is I still get nervous. I've been doing this for a long time, and Sammy said, and you said, we all get nervous. And I do find that the more I can get outside of myself, that the nervousness is sort of good nervousness. And so, I'm enjoying the process. Great, so the practice was just good, maybe, just the practice. Yeah, yeah. Great, thanks for doing it. Thanks. Yeah. (applause) And if I may, John, you were saying you are trying to get a little more improvisational, even though you give these talks a lot. But here's the thing, I think this is true for everyone that gives any kind of presentation or talk, you are the expert on whatever you're talking about. So, there's really no need to one, feel like every word has to be scripted. Unless that is the case for some, I think there are business reasons for that sometimes. Because you have to say it the way it needs to be said. But in the case of the talks that sometimes you may give, just remember that, remember, I know you know that. And that's true for all of us. You're the expert on what you're talking about. Or, at least, the person in the room that is sharing knowledge, if you don't want to think of yourself in that way. 'Cause I have been doing improv forever, but I don't ever think of myself as an expert on it. I just like it, I'm passionate about it. I've performed for a long time. I've taught for a long time. And I like sharing it. And I think that's what we're doing right now, between Kimberly and I, and because these classes are certain lengths and there's a lot of information, this is not all scripted, you know. And just know that sometimes it's okay if every word isn't exactly how you would have said it if you wrote it down. Because I think you gain more, from being you, than what you, you know, lose if you didn't say it the best possible way, 'cause you do have, obviously, an illustrious writing background. But, being you, I think, is more important than getting every single word down perfectly, so. Yeah, do we want to do another one? How you feeling? Yeah. I think we have time for one more person to do this. And then I think we have a time where we can maybe have someone do something if they've brought anything in. Okay. If potentially that's the case. So who would to just-- One more? One more of these? Introduce themselves? Yeah. Great. Yeah, Jared. Yeah, c'mon up. Aw, man I want to find a good spot. Yeah find-- Find a great spot. Find a spot no one has found before. Okay, I think I want to be back here, I don't think anybody's been-- Oh, you know what, that's not okay, alright, come back up here, no, I'm kidding. No, no, wherever you want to be. Okay, okay cool. Ooh, there's a tape on the ground. There is. Is that why you love it? Is that called hitting the mark or something? Yes. I don't know. Film terms It's just for you. This documentary's going to be great. I love my spot. Hi Jared, I'm on you side. I'm on your team. There's people in the audience that are on my team. Sorry, this is just like a little-- Do you're I love my spot. You do whatever you need to do. Sorry, it's in my head. I love my spot, I love my spot. My name is Jared Polivka. You can say my last name a lot of different ways. It's spelled P-O-L-I-V-K-A. It means like four different things in Slavic languages. It means soup, in Czech. And I really like soup. Again my name is Jared, and I am here today, is that what comes next? Yeah. Yeah, I usually present at data science meet ups. Or I present at my company, that I work at, on product. I also present on, actually I teach at an improv meet-up for fun in San Francisco. So, I'm kind of like a start-up data, improv guy. And I'm here today to be a fly on the wall at Creative Live. And, like, see how things work here. I think it's really cool. And just being in the studios, it's pretty amazing. I'm here to meet, (sniffs) I have a cold, so I'm kind of struggling. I'm here to meet new friends. So, everyone in the audience, I just, like, wanna get to know you. And I want to improve as a storyteller. And I want to improve as a speaker. And that's why I'm here today. Yay. Very good. (audience applauses) Nice looking. Let's go to you first this time, how do you feel? How do you feel? I feel like-- Come in center. Like I have phlegm. (laughing) I relate to that feeling, I relate to that feeling. I'm getting over a cold too. So, it that in your head? Are you kind of worrying about it? Yeah, and I um, I started kind of like, sniffling. Yeah. While I was talking and it kind of was getting in the way. And I was like, aw, I'm kind of self-conscious about this happening right now, in the moment. I love that you named it, right? It was, sort of, I wasn't aware it was a problem, until you said it, and then I have empathy for that then. Because we all know what that's like, right? From your perspective in the audience, what are some things you saw Jared do that you really appreciated, like, oh yeah, Alva. I really liked Jared's tone. I thought there was a way in which his tone was just pleasant and draws me in, so. Yeah. I love your Jared story about your name and the soup. And the whole, you were so relaxed to tell this great little, you know, folklore tale about Jared. And we'll remember that, right? I'll remember soup from now on, right? So it is great little hook to help us remember your name. Michelle, what were you going to say? You used repetition a few times. So, you repeated your name, and then at the end you repeated something. And that's a great way to help us remember what you talked about. And it was a nice bookend, right, of what you said in the beginning, where you said it, and you repeated at the end so we sort of also understood what Sammy mentioned earlier about tell us how to listen. And now we understand together with you, like, oh, you're done. You're don't talking and we're aware of that. So that's also, for us as an audience, it's relaxing. And lovely. Thanks. Thank you. Yay. Very good.

Class Description

Unless you’re an actor, comedian, musician or juggler, you probably don’t see yourself as a “performer.” But the truth is, if you ever have to stand up in a conference room and give a PowerPoint presentation or make a speech in front of your team, you are performing.

By embracing the performance aspect of public speaking and presenting, you can utilize the same tools that performers use to prepare themselves mentally, physically and vocally before they take the stage. And the more prepared you are, the more successful your speeches and presentations will be.

This course will give you tried and true preparation methods to ensure you’re ready for your big moment, whether you’re talking to a small group or presenting to a big crowd. You’ll learn hands-on exercises that will help transform you from a wary, reluctant speaker to a confident, dynamic performer.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Bring the best version of yourself to every room.
  • Think like an improviser so you feel more grounded, adaptable and positive.
  • Know the who, what and why of your presentation and audience.
  • Conquer your stage fright.
  • Handle mistakes, mishaps and technical glitches with grace.
  • Alleviate stuttering, stammering, speaking too quickly, being monotone, poor pacing and shifting weight.
  • Use physical, vocal and mental warm-up exercises to feel centered, alert and prepared.
  • Take creative risks.