Do you sometimes ask yourself why some concerts just can’t be topped? Why performances of global stars like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars are not only unique but almost magical? These top stars do not only fascinate their audience musically but also work hard and constantly on their stage presence.
With a performance thought out in every detail and a unique stage presence, the master of them all – “Jacko” – has thrilled tens of thousands of spectators at his performances, catapulting his songs into the musical universe.
Now you might think that you either have stage presence or you don’t, but I don’t see it that way; you can definitely learn and be trained in having stage presence.
In this article I will show you how you can win over your audience with simple exercises. You can do these exercises a few days before the performance, but some of them can also be used as a booster right before.
What is stage presence?
When I talk about stage presence, I do not mean the pure physical appearance. For me, presence on stage is connected with charisma. I want to create a feeling of presence in my audience. I reach this energetic state by controlling my thoughts and by being present in the here and now. The audience and I form a union. We interact with each other. I am the conductor who directs the events.
Through constant training, I succeed in captivating my audience again and again. At the same time this is a longer process of becoming aware.
If you manage to improve your effect on stage, you will be surprised to find that this will not only help you on stage but also improve your everyday communication.
Firstly I will introduce you to seven small exercises with which you can very quickly achieve a greater amount of stage presence.
7 simple exercises that achieve immediate results
1. Mark your territory
Focus your attention and alertness wherever you go. Get into the habit of “marking” unknown rooms and places. This will give you a feeling of security. You control the room, nothing can upset you, you practically inhale the atmosphere of the room surrounding you. You can do this exercise anytime and anywhere.
My tip before a performance: get familiar with the stage and with the room in which you will perform. Don’t arrive five minutes before and jump onto the stage. Enter the room, sit in the audience. Notice the air circulation. See which way the light goes. Touch the walls that border your creative space today. Feel the room and its energy. If you have already rehearsed your performance regularly a few days beforehand, you create a so-called morphogenetic field. In other words, you have left an energetic footprint that you can use. On the day of your performance, make sure that you move in the same paths as you did on the days before during your rehearsals. You step equally into the already existing energy field. If you succeed in this, the performance will practically be a piece of cake.
2. Love your audience
This is an exercise I do regularly just before my performances. Stand behind the curtain and feel the energy that the audience radiates.
Is it joyfully excited?
Is it tense?
Do you notice a nervousness?
Practice over and over again at perceiving the energetic fields. Every person, every living being, every room generates energetic streams. Send your audience consciously positive feelings. Love your audience and your audience will love you.
The power of thoughts and your own creative power can become conscious to you through visualization exercises. Visualize receiving a standing ovation from your audience at the end of your performance in the run-up to it. Imagine your audience enthusiastically listening to your speech.
Visualizations are particularly effective if you capture them on a large whiteboard or a large sheet of white paper. You focus the energy on a positive outcome.
4. Put yourself in the state you want to see your audience in
This is a powerful exercise for your stage presence to carry out just before your actual performance. Be with yourself, bring yourself into the emotional state you want to create in your audience. Get on fire for your performance. Mobilize all your strength, all your positive thoughts for your performance. Close your eyes and put your hands on your heart and feel your own life energy. Remember: if you want to light a fire in others, that fire must first burn within you!
The audience’s first perception of you is a crucial moment that decides whether your performance will be a top or a flop.
Be yourself and give the audience time to perceive you consciously.
Don’t come in, wriggle around and attack the audience with a flood of words.
Some entertainers and comedians have gotten into the habit of doing this: they come in and immediately a word bombardment is shot at the audience. This may be successful in some genres, but should be a conscious choice and not something that is done because an individual has got into the routine of doing it. Speakers have a stronger presence when they radiate calm and first of all… arrive. You can find more helpful tips about this in my blog post about non-verbal communication.
6. Timing is what counts
The right timing is not only crucial in everyday life, but also extremely valuable on stage.
When you are on stage, perfect timing is like a well-rehearsed choreography. You take breaks, build up dynamics, decrease your speed and avoid speaking and acting too fast, approach the verbal climax and take your audience with you.
As an exercise, I recommend that you rehearse the perfect timing several times. Let a friend film you, study the video and try out several variations. You can also consult a trusted person for feedback. If you feel that your initial chicken dance has now turned into a royal waltz, you have reached your goal.
7. Involve your audience
Your audience is part of your stage presence. If you don’t manage to pick up your audience where they stand, your whole performance, your visualizations and your timing can be as good as but the overall performance can still be a failure.
You can practice this wonderfully in front of a mirror, making eye contact with an imaginary audience. Imagine who your audience is: what are the needs and expectations of the people listening to you?
Stage presence is not only important for the stage
As you have read, stage presence is more than just the physical presence on a stage. Practice the effect that you desire to have upon your audience and your listeners. Because everyone you meet in your everyday life is somehow your audience that you want to inspire. Can you shine on a stage? Can you develop your full effect in everyday life – with family, friends or business partners?
What makes a great stage performer for you? What does this person have to do to captivate and inspire you? Let me know in a comment and if you want to work with me on your stage presence, please write me a message.