Claire Duffy's blog about public speaking and communication (in real life). Speak well, do well!
Getting on and off is part of the performance. Sometimes you need to arrive early and look at the venue to figure out how you’ll do this. Ask someone in charge to assist you if necessary. Where do you enter and exit? Where do you sit/stand etc. Do you have a lectern to use? Is there a water glass available? Are you going to use a microphone?
If you’re going up stairs to get on stage, do it with your body erect and your head up as much as possible (don’t fall!). Don’t run, or take two stairs at a time, especially at the end when you’re glad it’s all over. Don’t rush, just move purposefully. For some reason, a downward flight of stairs manages to make even the most mature and sensible person skip.
Being seated properly in public means knees are together, ankles (not knees) can be crossed, and there’s a pleasant and interested expression on your face. Stay still. Don’t fidget or put your hands to your face or hair. Don’t communicate in any way with someone in the audience, and if you communicate with anyone on stage remember everyone can see you. Don’t look at your shoes, it makes you look bored.
“Walk tall, walk straight and look the world right in they eye”… is the perfect mantra for poise on the podium. Be confident, look at your audience and smile at them when you arrive at your speaking position and are about to start.
When there’s applause, or laughter, pause and wait for it to subside before you continue.
Don’t walk away the second you finish. Count ‘one two’ silently and then make your exit. Eyes up, steady pace.
If you have to move around on stage you should stay out of the way of others. For example, if you get an award, shake hands with the giver and move out of the way for the next person to come forward. If you are the MC, you need to move in and out of position unobtrusively.
Sometimes, you need to have a photo taken. Stay collected and stand still, smile for the photographer, wait, then move on.
If you have papers with you, work out how you’ll keep them tidy and not drop them. A folder you can hold in one hand, or clipboard are both good ideas. You need to hold this away from your face so you don’t hide yourself from the audience.