MARK SCHARENBROICH, CSP,
CPAE. NiceBike.com. Mark@NiceBike.
com “Nice Bike” is all about how we
make meaningful connections.
use of the words “hit” or “kill.” In fact, the only rule he
enforced was the Golden Rule. The players never called
him “Coach”; he asked that they call him John.
How did John win? His focus from day one was: Do
the ordinary, extraordinarily well.
John used the phrase “just do it” before Nike was
even a company.
How does this apply to our speaking? Mastering
every element of the platform by doing the basics
extraordinarily well produces a masterful speaker.
One basic of speaking that is often overlooked is
stage blocking: how we move on the stage throughout
our presentation. As basic as this seems, the vast majority of top speakers I watch wander aimlessly across the
stage with no purpose or design whatsoever.
How you move supports your message, plays to different
locations in the audience, sets up your timing, aids in
telling a story, and, most of all, demonstrates confidence
and command of the stage.
In fact, with the speakers whom we coach at
KeynoteKamp.com, as I watch their videos I count how
many seconds go by between each movement from left
to right. Most speakers average 12 to 20 seconds, then
they make a predictable movement, move and repeat,
move and repeat.
Why does this matter? It’s about owning the stage.
Projecting confidence and being intentional about how
you look onstage is just as important as how carefully you
use every visual, story, or word selection to support your
Watch Jerry Seinfeld, the comedian’s comedian, as he
moves across the stage. He will place a wooden stool on
stage with a single glass of water and that is his anchor.
Seinfeld will move to support his bit, but he always goes
back to his center stage anchor. Seinfeld owns the stage
by powerfully holding his position.
On the other hand, watch how comedian Chris Rock
attacks the stage, constantly moving back and forth
throughout his presentation, ramping up the energy,
and then grabbing a spot on the stage to deliver a killer
line. Rock’s movement is choreographed just as much as
Seinfeld’s. It’s intentional, powerful, and supports his
KNOW YOUR NEXT MOVE
It’s not about whether you move or not. It’s about knowing that when you move, why you move, and how you
move impacts your delivery. This is especially true when
your presentation is projected on IMAG. Most speakers
have no idea how their constant movement impacts the
audience. They appear like a lion pacing back and forth
in a cage.
Let’s go back to doing the ordinary extraordinarily
well. Here are five basics to master:
1. The TED approach. When you watch a TED talk,
notice the red circular TED logo on the stage. It doesn’t
just serve as a logo. It also directs the speaker to stay
within the circle to avoid excessive movement. Place
four strips of tape on your stage and play within your
2. Sound off. Watch your video with the sound off and
see if you have a pattern in your movement. How much
time goes by before you move, and is it predictable?
3. Natural by design. Take in a Broadway show like
Hamilton and watch how every single movement on stage
is perfectly choreographed. Review your own presentation from the opening words to the closing “thank you”
and design your movements to support your message.
The key is to keep it conversational and natural yet well
designed to support your message.
4. Get perspective. When you are in an IMAG situation, during the rehearsals walk across the stage and see
how you look on the camera, noting the background and
how it appears behind you. Is it distracting or supportive? Plus, some stage areas are better lit than others; find
the most well-lit area and make it your anchor.
5. Study the masters. Study NSA member Victoria
Labalme, CSP, CPAE. Victoria is a classically trained
actor who knows how to move artfully across the
stage throughout her presentation. What I love about
Victoria’s presentation is that she is very theatrical and
yet doesn’t look “theatrical” or overly dramatic. Her
movement is so well thought out, but it doesn’t look
rehearsed and predictable. It flows naturally.
Being a masterful speaker isn’t about being the best
speaker, the highest-rated speaker, or the “I always get
a standing ovation” speaker. It’s about approaching our
presentations in an artful manner and mastering the
craft—every element of it. That is a masterful speaker. ■