The stage actor provides a terrific role model for the business presenter. Every time we step in front of a business audience, whether one or one thousand, we step onto the business "stage".
SO, WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE ACTOR?
One of the techniques we can adapt from the acting stage is blocking.
Contrast that concept with the business presenter who often paces aimlessly up and down the business stage or, worse, remains rooted behind a podium, with only head and shoulders visible to the audience.
Blocking is the precise and predetermined positioning and movement of actors on a stage in order to enhance the audience's appreciation and understanding of the play.
Actors use movement as a tool and this works equally effectively on the business stage:
- move to the front of the stage or room when you are communicating something poignant or surprising, as a way of making your delivery more personal
- step back a bit and move to the center of your space when delivering "big" news or impactful information [accompanied by appropriately big gestures and voice projection]
- move out from behind a podium or table to make your delivery seem more conversational
Moving with intention and purpose is the marriage between visual and verbal, making each stronger. Although blocking may seem too structured or formulaic for the business stage, the general principle of matching movement to words offers a valuable process to the business presenter.
Professional speaker Tom Antion outlines some benefits to movement in his post, "Gimme Three Steps". Moving strategically and deliberately, in concert with what you're saying, also allows you to:
- minimize bad sight lines and ensure that all of your audience will be able to see you, at least some of the time
- avoid ending up somewhere you don't want to be (e.g., on the other side of the room or stage when you need to check your notes or change a slide)
- help hold audience attention and prevent them from being distracted or bored