Your stage presence is what will determine if people spread the word about your performance or not.
“The band was really sucking that evening and I don’t even like that type of music. But, man, the singer was the most passionate and funny person I have ever seen.” It’s worth going to see them, just to witness this man being a madman on stage!
You can overcome any mishaps on stage and turn many people into your fans if you have a great stage presence. This is true for rock bands, solo slam poets, comedians, and any other person who stands in front of an audience.
You can’t use all these tips if you are assigned a seat in an orchestra. But if you have free movement, then you should be using every strategy you have to your advantage. We have all the information you need right here.
While you will practice and study the stars and their star power and try to imitate their charm and charisma, it doesn’t teach you how to command your audience. Let’s first define stage presence and then we will dive into 13 tips for performing on the stage.
What is Stage Presence?
Stage presence refers to the ability of a performer or actor to grab and control the attention of an audience. This includes being visually appealing, using charismatic speech and other mannerisms.
You can achieve this by speaking with authority like a politician, respecting and intimidating like a military leader and humor and silliness as a comedian. Or, you can simply be the most prominent person in the room, like a rock star on stage.
How to have a good stage presence
This is a discussion about stage presence. Everybody has a presence, good or not. The task is to learn how to enhance your stage presence. These 13 tips will help you improve your stage presence.
These tips can be used to boost your confidence and help you make your performances more authentic. Realizing that you are human is the best way to reach people’s hearts. However, you must also add layers that make you appear bigger and more powerful than everyone else.
There will be many things you can do while performing on stage. They all will fit in the following framework. Take your time, make notes, note down your ideas and get ready for the next step.
#1 – PROJECT YOUR MOST IDEAL VERSION
This means that you must first know who you are and your unique qualities. You can then create a fantasy version in your head of yourself once you have identified that. However, it must still be realistic. You can’t pretend to be real if it doesn’t feel natural. Do not do this.
Your idealized self can’t be funny if you aren’t funny at all. You can still tell bad jokes between songs, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You can deliver them well and that will make you very entertaining.
Note the “project” word. This means that you don’t have to believe your own lies, but you can still show the qualities you desire to others. You will soon believe it.
You will feel confident and self-esteem will soar, which will make you more comfortable and relaxed on stage. Magic will happen when this happens. You will be able to think creatively, have wit, and discover many opportunities to bring extra flair to your shows. Over time, your real persona will transform into your stage persona.
#2 – MIND POSTURE & BODY LANGUAGE
Only 50% of the opinions you receive from others are influenced by what you do on stage. The remaining 50% comes from your body language and is not spoken. This means that you cannot stand still behind your instrument or mic stand. You must be moving to the music.
The audience will follow your lead no matter what you do. If you enjoy your performance, they will too. Your subconscious mind must be able to see that you are the real deal, worthy of their attention. You can only do that if you are truly happy and confident.
This can be forced until it occurs by force. Stand straight up, keep your eyes on people and sing or speak forcefully. Standing straight up with your head high and your chest out, your shoulders back, your head down and your legs about shoulder width apart, if not more, is a good position.
Do not fidget. Don’t cross your arms. Don’t sit down. You should avoid anything you see people doing when they are anxious, uncomfortable, or self-conscious.
This is a sign of dominance and confidence. Without these two qualities, no one will want to even look at you for more than an hour straight. Everyone will be looking at you even if you aren’t the star.
#3 – WORK THE WHOLE STAGE AND ALL SIDES OF CROWD
Guess what happens if you tell a story to five people and they ignore one? They will pull out their phones, get up and go to the toilet, then start whispering to each other. There are ways to keep everyone interested.
You should first and foremost be taking up as much space possible. This shows you have the whole room. You can do whatever you want in the room, and you have full mobility.
This means that you have to “work the entire stage” on stage. You can divide the stage into sections with your imagination. A small stage may have three sections, while a large theater might have five.
You need to move through these sections without stopping. Engaging this section of the audience will be possible when you do. Sing towards those in front.
Next, engage the people in the middle. Finally, engage the people further back and on the balcony. Do not leave anyone out. You should rotate through the crowd and sections of the stage constantly.
Depending on the show’s energy, you can go crazy. Jump on the speaker monitors and give the crowd high-fives. You can also hop off the stage to run up and down the aisles. You can try different things, and if you like them, add them to the repertoire.
#4 – INVOKE THE AUDIENCE IN EACH PERFORMANCE
It doesn’t mean they are involved just because you move around the stage or look at the different parts of the audience. They may be interested, but they are not actively involved. It is important to create a sense of collective effort in your performance.
It is simple to get them to clap along to certain songs. You can also point your microphone at them during a simple chorus, and have them sing it.
You can invite a superfan to perform a verse if they know the lyrics. You can comment on the energy of the crowd, praise the kindness and goodwill of the city, etc.
You can also create a competition between sections of the crowd and see who can chant the phrase loudest. Invite several people to join you on stage and perform solos with air guitar.
You can invite others up to beatbox, where they will create melodies and improvise a song. The band can then perform the song.
While creativity is important, there are many cool things that you can do on stage to engage the audience. It’s not about “there’s me and then the crowd.” Consider the whole room “us”, and you can tune into the energy to raise it.
#5 – DO NOT ALLOW SILENCE – USE SKITS & JOKES, STORIES & TIMING
Although all stage shows have visuals, the most important sense is hearing. We should pay attention if sounds are being made. If you stop making noises, your audience members will become bored and distracted.
The rule of silence is to not allow silence. How do you accomplish that? Every gap must be filled, which is usually between the songs and the musicians on stage. Consider the last time you were in a crowd at a concert. There is nothing more boring than listening to song after song while there is no other activity.
You need to prepare and coordinate before you go on stage. However, you can make skits or jokes that will require several band members to execute. These can be interspersed, but they should not be repeated.
You should only do two to three skits per show or it will get cheesy. Jokes can be told between songs while your bandmates tune their instruments, or grab some water.
You can also tell stories. You can tell funny or interesting stories about what happened on your tour. You can tell the origin stories and meanings of songs.
You can come up with something absurd and tell the crowd. Have fun. You can also have fun with it. But be careful.
Give the audience time for clapping if you are sure you will be moving right into the next song. Start the next song as soon as the volume of the clapping stops. Do not allow silence to happen!
#6 – MAKE IT Personal FOR MANY FANS
I spoke earlier about giving high-fives to fans, inviting them to sing, or having an air guitar contest. It is important to make the event personal for only a few people. This is not possible for everyone, but each person will be able to tell their story and share the experience with others.
Eye contact is important and can be done non-stop on stage. Ask the crowd to show you their favorite activity (just be sure it fits in the context of the show). Next, ask the couple what they love about that activity.
It is important to select a few people who seem willing and not introverted and to elevate them to a level between “musicians on the stage” and “general audience”. This creates tension and encourages the audience to move up.
If you have the time, make a way through the crowd to shake hands, take pictures, or sign autographs.
It takes little to make a new fan or convert a regular fan to a super fan who becomes a brand ambassador. Everyone will feel better if one person has a great time.
#7 – FASHIONABLY LIVES LARGER THAN LIFE
It’s hard to find much to say. It’s obvious what it means. You can still look great, but you don’t need to do it in a costume or face paint like KISS and the Insane Clown Posse. You will need to appear larger than life in order to match your incredible charisma.
You might need to hire a fashion designer, but this doesn’t mean you have to wear your usual clothes on stage. You will create an expectation that you are normal by looking normal.
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Even if you rock the house the audience will think you are normal. Don’t be afraid to dress big. Dress up big!
Make sure you have a huge look that suits your style and the expectations of your fans. Take it one step further. You can also use one thing about yourself that is unique in band photos, album covers, or during every show.
The whole point of commanding attention to an audience is to make them feel more important and excited than everyone else. Your stage presence is greatly affected by how you present yourself. Although it will be costly and may seem silly to some, it is essential.
#8 – SHOW HIGH ENERGY, EVEN IN SMALL THINGS
It is impossible to plan for high energy when performing certain “shticks”. It’s either you have it or not, and it will be obvious. Everything you do should scream excitement.
Applaud the crowd when you take your first step on the stage. Point at them and say, “What’s the matter, Town-I-m-In!” Thank you for coming out. Are you ready to rock?
Even something as simple as your entrance on the stage can be thrilling. Let’s suppose you drop the mic accidentally. You could even back up and pick it up while doing a cartwheel. It would be a wild crowd.
Every little thing can be a memorable moment. Even in mishaps, pay attention to yourself.
Attention is the currency that you care about. Stage presence is what it is. If they are missing something important, the crowd should not look away.
#9 – RECORD AND WATCH YOURSELF IN ORDER TO FIND STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
You can have someone record your shows every once in awhile so that you can look over the footage at home. You should be able to observe yourself while also taking notes of what the audience thinks.
What were their favorite things? What was their favorite song? What are the transitions between songs?
Find out your strengths and how you can use them. You can improve your weaknesses or avoid them.
Your goal is becoming a superhuman on stage. Everything you do and say will place you at the top of the heap above any mortal. This requires hard work and research.
You should also be looking at the greats. You can watch rock bands perform, professional wrestlers talk to one another, comedians and business leaders giving lectures on stage.
Don’t just watch them perform. You can keep your mind on a meta-level, and see what they do. You can take the lessons and adapt them to your style.
#10 – Never do or say anything negative, ever
This is huge. No matter what, don’t make fun of other musicians or members of the audience. You’ll be taken offence or your sarcasm will not go down well with others. Don’t do that. All things must be positive all the time.
These moments are not easily forgotten. This is even more true in today’s digital age, where it will be captured on video and audio and shared far and wide, thereby threatening your brand and reputation.
You want to be captured on tape being kind, positive and authentic. Never criticize, insult or make silly negative jokes. Don’t even make self-deprecating jokes. Always keep it positive.
How to Start a Band? It is important to find other bandmates who can share this philosophy. This includes their families, friends, and fans. One bad moment can ruin an entire career.
#11 – DON’T SELF-REFLECT ON THE STAGE PRESENCE AS IF IT’S HAPPENING
If you are using your meta-cognition as a review tool to evaluate your performance, it is impossible to deliver a speech or have a conversation. The same applies to a stage performance.
You will ruin the show if you start to second-guess yourself or mope about the disappointment you have suffered. It will throw you off your feet.
To reflect on your performance, wait until the show ends. It’s not a good idea to do this during set breaks or while you’re performing on stage. Keep your attention on the performance.
It’s not all about you. While you are the main focus of attention, it is really about the audience. For later, save the self-pity and self-congratulatory nonsense. You can ignore or make it a joke if you fail to do something. Then, keep going.
You’ll lose your self-worth and the audience will see you as a failure. You will make everyone realize that you are just another human being. They are paying you to bring them joy and hope, not to remind them of their vulnerability to self-doubt.
#12 – DO NOT ANNOUNCE THAT YOU FEEL NERVOUS, CONFUSED.
Although this is covered in the previous point, it is still very important and must be said separately. Many people will say things like “I’m very nervous, so please bear with me.”
You shouldn’t. It won’t lower anyone’s expectations. It makes you look weak.
Your audience tunes into your inner state and dreams of you while listening to your music. You’ll ruin your audience’s fantasy of you being worth paying attention to if you show signs of nervousness, as many people do.
The nervousness will disappear as you perform each night. As you progress in your career, the stage fear will disappear completely. It’s normal, and everyone experiences it.
People won’t notice your anxiety if you don’t tell them. Keep going with the show. The show must continue regardless. Because you are stepping out of your comfort zone, you should be nervous. This should help you feel confident. It’s something that very few people will ever do in their lives.
#13 – HAVING FUN IS AUTHENTIC
This one is my last. While you may think it’s obvious, having fun is the most important thing. People love to be around people who are having fun. Have fun, laugh, be silly, and act confidently. Have fun and so will the people. It’s that simple.
While you may be larger than life to the benefit of the audience, it’s still your life. Make sure your personality shines through. For your performance to feel authentic, it must feel real. There is no better way than to have fun and not be manipulated by the game.
This will attract the audience to your world, rather than them being drawn into theirs (which can lead to you becoming nervous). If they are in your world, you can run the show and keep their attention.
That’s stage presence. They are your world, and they were glad to meet you. Have fun and be confident.
You will improve your stage presence with practice!
As I mentioned before, no one starts from ground zero. Everybody already has a stage presence. The challenge is to improve it so that it doesn’t suck and propels your career to the next level. It’s important to make people feel comfortable in your presence, even if you are the center of attention.
These 13 tips are rules. Every other tip falls under one of these categories. It is up to you to experiment and practice so that you can make this framework your own. You will need to get comfortable but you will soon be able to present yourself on stage.