Stage movements, known as blocking, speak for themselves and stand as a message that most members of the audience can pick up. When used at the right time and at the right place, blocking can be a powerful tool to equip motivational speakers to become more effective in their craft.
It is said that blocking makes the difference between an amateur and professional motivational speaker obvious. Rehearsed movements and lack of movements on stage (unless the event is formal) can make you look amateurish and nervous. On the other hand, moving too much on stage can only annoy the audience and make it hard for them to maintain attentiveness.
Impress the audience with your calculated stage movements. Use these blocking set-ups appropriately so you can find success in your profession in no time.
1. Walking from side to side
The most practical use of this blocking set-up is to avoid boredom and initiate an interaction with the audience. It symbolizes an ongoing story or section of the speech that will continue for a while.
Motivational speakers who face a huge crowd (especially if it is in an arena-type venue) should learn how to phase their walk using this blocking set-up. The audience want to feel recognized even if they sit in the farthest corners, so you have to move as close as possible to them, even just adjacently.
2. Walking towards the front
Walking frontwards represents emphasis of a message and implies the intention to highlight an opinion or startle the audience. It is practically telling the audience “here it comes” when you are about to say something significant and interesting.
This blocking set-up also signifies the transition of a speech to a more intimate or personal level. Other motivational speakers also do this during the climax of the speech or in the ending note. However, it can also be done when you are about to share a story of your life or tell something that is close to your heart.
3. Walking backwards or towards the wall
Never do this unless you are done with the speech and you are about to leave the stage. Turning your back on the audience, unless necessary for presentation (i.e. facing a power point presentation), implies premature closing, insincerity, lack of interest, or worse, mocking. Some people might also interpret it as being impersonal and disrespectful. This action can break the audience’s attentiveness and focus, which might be hard to regain and retrieve once lost.
4. Walking diagonally towards the left or right
In this blocking set-up, the speaker directly walks towards one side (diagonally) as if he is talking to only one side. There should not be a problem if that is exactly your intention; if not, it can make you look like disregarding one side of the audience as if they are not there.
This blocking set-up is useful when you are trying to get a feedback from the audience, section by section. It can also be done as a part of fun interaction with the audience during ice breakers and short breaks.
5. Standing behind the podium
Usually, a stage set-up with podium on either side (usually on the left side of the audience) means that the speaker is expected to stay behind the podium all throughout the engagement. This is the case for after-dinner speech, speech of good will, speech of courtesy, and eulogy.
Nevertheless, there is a growing trend amongst modern motivational speakers to remove the podium from the stage, leaving it bare and wide open. This helps them navigate on the stage and lock the attention of the audience. For many people, using the podium also makes the speech less personal, less intimate, and less sincere.
For formal events, there are two instances when leaving the podium is considered acceptable: first, when the speaker transitions to a lighter mood (i.e. When he is about to start an anecdote), and second, when the speaker reverts back to a heavier or more formal mood (i.e. When he needs to sound serious to tackle a sensitive issue). These instances may be acceptable depending on the formality of the occasion and the audience.
You have to remember when you decide to leave the podium, you still have to go back behind it when you are about to jump to another section, make a conclusion, or finish the speech.
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