Creating Fireworks on Stage


Remember the Katy Perry lyrics, "Baby you're a firework"?

On July 4th, everyone’s attention turns to the night sky anticipating the fireworks with great excitement. Thousands turn out to catch a glimpse of the magnificent fire display- a tradition that few people want to miss. It’s a sensory sound bath (sizzle, crack, boom) and a  visual landscape of colors: red, white, blue, green, purple. It’s the ultimate show.

Why can't presentations be like fireworks? Why is it that some public speakers create energy explosions while others fizzle out? What if you could create your own fireworks on stage?

Here's how to set your audience on fire as a public speaker:

Pump up the music. Nothing energizes and excites a room better than music. Select music that's consistent with your theme. Drums, brass, and a strong beat will get the crowd moving better than a soft piano concerto.

Make your moves. Dynamic movement is powerful but don't pace back and forth. Be purposeful with your movement and walk the stage. Take up space instead of retreating to a patch of the platform or hiding behind a lectern. Own the room and watch the audience ignite.

Include video. A short video clip that tells a story will engage, excite and capture an audience. Keep clips short-one to three minutes.

Bring on the drama. Be dynamic. To create fire, raise your volume and then get softer. Tell an emotional story and let your feelings flow. Change the tone, interact with the audience, repeat a refrain, make a face, get in character and play a role. Use the character's voice and mannerisms. And speaking of mannerisms, be sure to gesture. Moving your hands will move your energy. Passion sells.

Gamify. Audiences love games and quizzes. So play a guessing game. Conduct a raffle. Take a poll and project it on the screen. Play with a purpose. The listeners want to have fun.

Challenge their thinking. During the financial crisis of 2008, a motivational speaker was brought in to rev up the crowd. There was a general malaise in the room as the audience believed business was declining and nobody was buying. The professional speaker admonished the crowd with, "I love when these sales guys come to me and say, "Nobody's buyin'. "

Nobody's buyin'? he bellowed. "The GDP is 14 trillion dollars! Somebody's buyin'!!!!" You could feel the energy and excitement of hope permeate throughout the room. Many of the attendees left with a new resolve to get on the phone and sell.

Don't worry if you're not an extrovert or entertainer. Every public speaker has a spark and sparks turn into flames. Tap into these tips, make them your own, and set your audience on fire.