At the beginning of your speaking journey, nervous energy pours out everywhere – most notably through your legs. Some speakers are glued in one spot like a deer in the headlights. Many more dance in place, rock back and forth, or take a random stroll.
Before you can do the best thing – which is to move only with purpose – you need to gain control and awareness of your movement. Here is a three step process to cure excessive movement while speaking.
Step 1: Give a speech without moving
If you move too much, the first thing you need to do is go cold turkey. Keep yourself in a single spot with your feet shoulder width apart and your weight balanced. If you are addressing a U-shaped audience, then you should reorient your feet so that your whole body is facing the individual you are engaged with just as you would in normal conversation.
Step 2: Move silently at transitions
Once you have mastered the awareness and control to stand still, you are ready to reintroduce movement. Start your speech in the middle of the stage as you normally would. As you transition from your introduction into the body of your speech, take a verbal pause a move to a new location. Remember to take casual yet purposeful steps and to hold your head up with confidence. It should only take you a couple of seconds to move and your audience will appreciate the extra mental processing time. You should repeat the process at transitions ultimately returning to center stage for your conclusion.
Step 3: Move with purpose
Your ultimate goal is to move with purpose. That means treating the floor like a theatrical stage with specific locations for characters, places, and themes.
Try it out!
Curing excessive movement will take practice. If you are in Toastmasters and there is enough time, try doing two table topics. Do the first minute speech without moving. Do the second one moving only at transitions. Moving with purpose requires careful planning and should be reserved for your next prepared speech.