How Not to Be Stiff as a Board on Stage

People come to me for voice lessons and speaker coaching for a variety of reasons. Each person’s voice is as unique and varied as the reasons they want to improve their vocal quality or stage presence. Regardless of the person or the reason, it’s always a pleasure, privilege, and joy to do this work – for both teacher and student! (I’m a lucky gal!)

Lately, I’ve noticed the focus has been body language on stage.

We all grew up in different families and cultures with different body language. I’m thinking right now of an impassioned Italian woman in the kitchen, making a point to the family she’s about to feed. Can you see her? Good. Now picture a Buddhist monk in a Tibetan Monastery.

Now picture the Italian mama feeding the monk a plate of pasta… Just kidding.

The point is, regardless of our backgrounds, when we get up to publicly speak, it can feel like we’re not even in our body anymore. We want to act like we’re a normal human being, but our bodies are acting anything but human. The palpitating heart feels like an egg beater, the wooden-like legs feel stuck, and – by the way – when did arms start to feel like cardboard?

All of this can be changed with focused practice.

I’ll be circling back to this topic in the coming weeks.

For now, remember to breathe, deeply, from the belly.

Get up and talk in front of people, in a friendly environment, as often as you can. If you’re at a wedding or graduation reception and toasts are invited, stand up and make a toast.

Speaking of toasts, Toastmasters ( is the most renowned speaker and leadership organization in the world. I’ve been a member for over two years now and can’t recommend it highly enough.

And for those of you in Portland, the next Authentic Performance Voice Lab is Friday June 16th. Come join us!

Laura Handke is a pro at what she does. I came away more confident and excited. Thank You Laura. –Kym G-C.

Honor your inner voice enough to express it outwardly. The people who need to hear what you have to say will thank you.

If you found this post helpful, please spread the love and pass it along to a friend!

Authentically Yours, Laura