🎭 Stage presence: How to change the energy in a room

Ft. Floella Benjamin

At this year’s BAFTAs, children’s presenter Baroness Floella Benjamin was presented with a Fellowship for her services to television. When she took to the stage to accept it, she delivered the talk of the night. Her secret?

A clear intention is more important
than a clear first line.

When most people walk up to the podium to take the mic, all they are thinking about is getting their first line right. The result?

  1. Increased anxiety 😦 
    Due to the extra pressure you’re putting on yourself to get it right!

  2. A lack of warmth ❄️
    Very hard to look and smile at your audience when you’re deep in concentration

  3. A stone-faced audience
    See point above.

All before you’ve said your first word… it’s a long way back from there.

Set an intention for how you want to come across before you start speaking…

And the rest will take care of itself. Demonstrated perfectly by Floella in this clip… enjoy 🍿.

If there is one thing I’d like you to take from Floella’s acceptance speech, it is this:

😊 Choose warmth 😊

When you’re setting an intention, it can be hard to find a single word that articulates exactly how you’d like to come across.

In fact, you’ll probably find that different sections of your talk require different intentions.

In hers, Floella showed gratitude, frustration, pride, hope, purpose and even playfulness in her 3-minute, 20 second speech.

The changing of intention is powerful because it will change how your talk feels.

Emotional contrast creates memories.

But when it comes to your pre-talk intention…

The intention you set before you start speaking, I’m yet to find one as effective as warmth.

Warmth says you’re pleased to be there.
Warmth says you care about your audience, and
Warmth makes them want to listen to what you’ve got to say.

What’s more, when you set warmth as an intention, you don’t have to think about smiling or making eye contact with your audience; you just do it!

So, if you’ve got a speaking engagement this week, try channeling a little bit of Floella’s energy and let me know how you get on!

You’ve got this 💪!


MicDrop, my public speaking community for tomorrow’s thought leaders will be opening the doors again in October.

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