Public Speaking –Take control of THE STAGE AREA

This is an AI generated transcript so please forgive any errors and spelling mistakes. 

Hi it’s Shola from speak up like a DIVA. My question for you today is this are you prepared to take control? And when I ask you are you prepared to take control when your public speaking I’m not asking you to march into the audience that stop telling them what to do and become a little dictator towards them. No, the question is are you prepared to take control of your stage area. And that’s what we’re going to be looking at in just a moment

First let me introduce myself. My name is Shola Kaye, I’m a public speaking coach, also a professional performer and a professional keynote speaker based in London with clients all over the world and I love making these little videos. Today it’s all about being in control, as I said, control of your stage area.

Public speaking – Why taking control of the stage area matters

Now what does that mean and why is it important? Well as somebody who’s been performing for the last 15, 16, 17 years and has seen the growth of using video to record performances and then put them out there whether it’s just on social media to create awareness or whether it’s having a demo reel that is going to be watched by others who may well book you in the future, making sure that the area in which you speak is cleaned up and looks very presentable is super important.

The same thing applies to when you’re speaking because quite often with so in our minds about “okay how am I going to remember my words, is everything gonna go okay when I get my message across…” but the very last thing that we’re thinking about is the actual area in which we’re presenting and performing.

But imagine that you’ve got something in your speaking area that is drawing your audience’s attention towards it rather than towards you that’s not a good thing or there’s something in your speaking area that is acting as a block to you moving freely throughout that area – again, not very good – or you want to record your presentation for that day and use it for a demo reel or use it for sales or just some other reason that you may want to use it. Then you see that there are some dirty glasses behind you or you know there’s a tissue on the floor whatever it might be, and that small thing can really mess up the scene it can mess up the visuals so it’s super important to not only be fully aware of your presentation and what you’ve got to say and you know the audience and all those good things that we talked about but also the area that you’re speaking in

Public speaking – What to do when something doesn’t look right

Let me give you a couple of examples: so earlier but probably last week now, I was fortunate enough to be asked to be the MC at a friend’s book launch and she had some cameras there. She had people taking photos, it was at a really nice venue in central London and before she went up to speak we were looking at the speaking area. There were a bunch of glasses that were just on an ledge behind her and I said “please let’s move these glasses out of the way. You really don’t want to be looking at them months and months years from now when you’re remembering the brilliant day that you launched your book, all the people that were there, the wonderful banner that you had and the table for the fluffy books and then there’s a glass behind you with a lipstick stain or whatever it might be”. So we took a few minutes and we moved the glasses out of the way.

Another example I was at an event a while back as the chairperson. Of course, again, as the chair you see one person after another come out to speak. During the day there had been a panel and so there were a couple of seats set up in the speaking area and most because when they came up they didn’t worry about those seats that were there in the speaking area. They went to the podium, did their thing and then went away again but one speaker came up and said “we’ll hold on a sec let’s move those chairs out of the way I don’t want them there when I speak because that’s not part of my presentation. I want people looking at me not wondering why there are these couple of seats here”. So we moved them.

Public speaking – It also matters to your audience

Yet another example. I was running a talk for some students at University College London this is last year now, I think, and in the speaking area there was a – we were in a sort of lecture theater – and there was a kind of desk kind of bench type thing in front of me and then there was a one of those sort of old school oh the projectors right in front of me. The screen and the arm of the projector was sort of right in my face, so I could have chosen to ignore it and do the presentation with that thing right there. But even if it hadn’t bothered me maybe it would bother somebody in the audience and get in their way and stop them enjoying the presentation. So I asked one of the students to help me to shift it out of the way and then I have this clean and clear speaking area where there was no obstruction between me and the audience.

So even if you yourself don’t mind having a bit of clutter in that speaking area I want you to think about the people who are watching you, whether they’re watching you months from that time on a video, whether they’re just casually flicking through an Instagram post and and seeing you there, whether they’re in the room with you there on that day. Anything that impairs their vision of you anything that gets in the way and spoils their view of you or just influences it gets and to get their attention some way should be removed if possible so remember to take control of your speaking area and make it your own.

It’s your responsibility while you’re up there you’ve got the vision of how you want your presentation to go how you want to be received by your audience. It’s your job to make that happen as best you can but sometimes there are situations where the that we just can’t do much with the room and it’s not our fault. But whatever is within your physical capability to alter and to improve both for you and the audience then it’s your job to do that so that’s why you have to take control.

I hope that makes sense and I want you to think next time you turn up for an event think about how could that space be optimized. Is it a case of taking a couple of glasses away? Is it a case of moving a few chairs around? Take that into consideration and then do what needs to be done.

That’s it from me today remember take control and I would love you to come along to one of my live online events next time they’re happening. Wherever you are in the world you can attend because you’ll be at your computer and I’ll be at mine and we can both be happy in our respective places and still connect with each other. I would absolutely love that so take a moment go to

There you’ll see the dates and times for the next one. If there isn’t one planned then you’ll see that they’ll be a an on-demand master class available to you so that’s the next best thing to being together live. You’ll be able to get some tips and tricks from me on public speaking but at the master class instead will be available to you whenever you want it.

That’s it from me. See you soon.


P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you improve your speaking or grow your business:

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