How do you develop charisma? Many would-be speakers worry that they don’t have the charisma to entertain an audience. Worry not! Develop your stage presence and you can be bolder, more memorable and more fearless than you ever dreamed possible.
Every actor knows the expression “Find your light.” It means that if you’re in the dark on stage, step into the light source so you can be seen. Audiences find it hard to pay attention to speakers they can’t see!
When you present, you need to become comfortable being in the spotlight. It means accepting your central role (and the exposure that comes with it) as a speaker. Some presenters are uncomfortable with that level of scrutiny, and you can tell. But public speaking is performance. If you don’t become comfortable on stage then you won’t be able to share your message to the world!
The biggest part of stage presence is finding your inner ‘stage persona‘ – an opportunity to create You 2.0 – the you you’ve always wanted to express, but haven’t felt confident enough to show. When you’re fully able to let You 2.0 out, you will develop charisma naturally and your audience will benefit no end. So here’s how to start designing a brilliant stage persona:
Write down how you behave when you’re at your finest. It might be when you’re at your most successful, when you’re completely comfortable with your loved ones, or when you feel most alive.
Brainstorm the qualities you admire about other great speakers, entertainers or influencers. You might have Freddie Mercury’s stage presence, Marilyn Monroe’s femininity and Churchill’s sense of certainty. Whatever appeals to you.
Combine the most important parts of 1&2. Now imagine how a character like this would be. How would he or she move? Speak? Dress? Laugh? What kind of experience would the audience receive?
This is the start of your stage persona. Keep working on it to find how you really want to behave on stage. Next, start to bring this character into your performances. Develop charisma when you need it by visualing yourself as this new stage persona before you go on stage. As you visualise yourself taking on your new stage persona, ask:
- How does your stage persona walk onto stage?
- What does he / she wear?
- What are some of the words s/he says?
- How does s/he speak to the audience? How does s/he inspire them?
Finally find a ‘trigger’ that reminds you of the feeling that the stage persona evokes. This could be a piece of jewellery, an item of clothing, or a sticky note saying “Freddie Mercury!” you put on your notes whilst you’re speaking. Anytime you notice the trigger, remind yourself to step back into the stage persona.
Developing this stage presence will help you develop charisma and tap into it on demand.