What Is Stance
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In this Explearning Communications lesson, learn how to stand on stage to improve your stage presence. When you learn correct stance in public speaking, you will become a more confident public speaker and effective communicator. Your body language will improve when you change your stance. Learn how to improve stance!

Imagine walking onto a stage or in front of a roomful of people you’re about to address and you see a podium front and center. Without even thinking, your inclination is to gravitate towards it. Right? Don’t. The idea of the podium may be nice – perhaps for you it ignites images of wise and erudite people. Or maybe it harkens back to the days of yore in Ancient Greece when Stoics and Philosophers would proselytize to eager audiences, soaking up their every word like nectar from the gods (even though, fun fact: they spoke in amphitheaters). Even so, it’s not uncommon to associate a podium with public speaking…  

And up until recently, the podium symbolized revolutionary rhetoric and powerful oration delivered by the Sage One, the Guru of Many Things or the Persuasive Politician. But things are changing. And the Speaker Archetypes are not limited to those three examples. Nowadays, with the right strategies and enough practice, everyone can be a good public speaker and effective communicator. We’ve entered the age of TedTalks, YouTube sensations, and Insta Story updates where audiences and speakers are on a level playing field because it’s less about proselytizing and more about idea sharing. In fact, TED the new symbol of public speaking uses this as their tagline: “ideas worth spreading.” The transfer of knowledge is a two-way street. We can share ideas with each other.

The democratization of knowledge has been catalyzed by the density, omnipotence, and easy access to information. The Internet, a fount of knowledge, is now literally at our fingertips. Everyone is equal and everyone has something to offer.

The paradigm has thus shifted. And the podium no longer represents what it used to. In contrast, it’s an antiquated symbol of the power of knowledge which was granted to only a select few – people of means.

As this has evolved, so too has our perception of the podium. Now, we are encouraged not to rely on the podium and close ourselves off to the audience. Using the podium boxes our energy in, and it cannot be released to the world. If there are no spatial restrictions, then do not use the podium. There are, however, few occasions when the speaker has limited space (I’ve given speeches at award dinners before where there was no stage) in which case you have no choice. But more often than not, be it in a meeting room or on a stage, you can choose to avoid the podium.

When you’re lucky enough to get away from the podium you’ll notice how much more you can connect with your audience. So, let’s talk about proper stance to use when you can unshackle yourself from the podium.  

(1) Stand square

Point your shoulders straight towards the audience. This will help build positive rapport between you and the listeners because they’ll feel like you’re giving them your undivided attention.

(2) Avoid swaying

When we are not leaning against a table or podium, we have the urge to sway. In fact, it’s our natural tendency to sway because of the comfort we feel rocking from side to side. Be mindful of this because it can be highly distracting to your audience and can take away the power behind your message. To avoid swaying, place one foot slightly in front of the other. Staggering your feet (be careful not to create too much space – it’s not a lunge!) can stop the sway.  

(3) Plant your feet firmly

To ensure that you have a good stance, plant your feet firmly. Feel the connection with the ground. Be sure to evenly distribute your weight by avoiding too much weight in your toes or heels.

(4) Feet pointed straight

Keep your toes pointed towards your audience. It may be tempting to splay them out for more comfort but try to avoid the urge. When you point your feet in the direction of the audience you connect better with them because it signals that you are interested in and care about them. This holds true for smaller group interaction between two or more interlocutors in a conversation.

(5) Do not lock your knees

It is easy to tire from standing for prolonged periods of time. To keep your energy levels high, do not lock your knees. The ideal stance would have a slight bend in your knees.  Imagine replicating the stance you would have to lift dumbbells. Instead of doing a bicep curl you have a microphone in your hand.

Try out these strategies the next time you choose to unshackle yourself. When you avoid the podium, you have access to the audience. You’re not restricting yourself to one corner of the room or stage and more importantly you’re not blocking off your energy from reaching the audience. This is a great way to better connect with the audience so that your delivery comes across as clear, poignant, and meaningful.

Happy Explearning 🌠

About the Author and the Explearning Academy:

Mary Daphne is an expert in communication, executive interpersonal skills, and personal development. She is the founder of the Explearning Academy, a platform dedicated to helping individuals enhance their social fluency, boost their careers, and elevate their social game. Through immersive group coaching programs like the Executive Communication Lab and self-guided journeys, participants gain the social superpowers and career catapults they've been searching for. If you're ready to take your negotiation skills to the next level and connect with like-minded individuals, visit academy.explearning.co and explore the various plans available. Join the Explearning Academy community and unlock your full potential.

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