Using movement within your speech or presentation

Eddie Izzard

Using movement within your speech or presentation can really help to enhance the effectiveness of your delivery and keep your audience engaged. Eddie Izzard does this well in the clip above, during one of his standup comedy shows.

Eddie uses movement and the space around him to demonstrate two sides of a story as he tells his ‘Geoff Vader’ story. When he stands on one side, he is the canteen maid, when he stands to the other side of the stage he is Darth Vader, the dark lord.

This technique allows Eddie to help his audience picture the scene and to keep up with which character in his story is talking, without him having to indicate this verbally. (This is a great technique if you’re rubbish at voices and cannot give distinguishable, different voices to each of the characters in your story).

But how can I use this in my speech or presentation?

Ok, so you might not be a standup comedian like Eddie Izzard, but you may still need to demonstrate two sides to a story in your speech or presentation, or perhaps demonstrate the passing of time or the development of a key message.

Imagine you are presenting the case for and against a certain topic. Moving from side to side can be used to visually define to your audience which side of the argument you are currently presenting to them. For example, if you are speaking for and against Fox hunting, you may stand to the right of the stage when presenting an argument for Fox hunting. However, when you come to speak about the arguments against Fox hunting you may move to the left of the stage to clearly define to your audience that you are presenting the opposite side of the argument. This movement will help to enliven your speech and clearly demonstrate your speech structure to your audience.

Alternatively you may be telling a story that has a timeline within it, perhaps you are speaking on a story about where you have come from and where you are today in your life. For such a speech you may wish to begin your speech and start talking about the past on the left hand side of the stage. Then, as your speech develops, move from left to right as time passes within your story. this helps to illustrate the timeline that you are describing to your audience and makes them aware of what point they and you are at in that timeline. Your speech should then conclude as you reach the present day, or the goal within your story, with you on the right hand side of the stage.

These are just two ways in which you can use movement and the space on stage to help enhance your speech or presentation. There are many more depending on your goals and objectives when speaking and of course, the space available to you! I hope to cover some more and any new ones that I discover in future blog posts. Please feel free to leave your own tips and experiences in the comments section below.

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Rich Watts is the UK Business Speaker of the Year and a past JCI National Public Speaking champion. He setup and now runs Rich Public Speaking providing presentation skills and public speaking training.

2 responses on “Using movement within your speech or presentation

  1. Keith Davis

    Hi Rich
    Brilliant example – love Eddie Izzard.

    Like the way you linked the vid clip to a speech / presentation..

    “you may still need to demonstrate two sides to a story in your speech or presentation”

    I’ve used that in my speeches in the past.

    Nice site Rich and great content.

    I have a Public Speaking blog.
    If you get a couple of minutes please pay me a visit and let me know what you think.
    If you like what you see perhaps we could exchange links.

  2. Rich Post author

    Thanks Keith. I’ve checked out your blog and it’s a great source of information and advice. I’ll definitely be checking back in future!

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