Calibrating Your Speaking Presence

  • Itai Cohen
  • Melanie Dreyer-Lude


The audience has come to hear you speak, the real you, not a phony constructed version of you (Howard & Tivnan, 2003). To learn to be authentic and poised as a public performer, you do not need to construct another persona, but you may need to make some adjustments to your physical performance. It is important to recognize that some of what you do as a performer is already working for you and that some of it is not. In the same way that it is hard for us to hear our own verbal ticks until they are pointed out to us, the first step towards reconnecting with your physical expression is to learn to recognize the signals you are sending. Because many of us have been raised in an atmosphere that is critical and judgmental—think of all those oral exams and graduate school presentations—we have learned to defend ourselves by reducing our vulnerability and restricting our expression. Unfortunately, these behaviors often get in the way of fully communicating your story and conveying your own personality.


  1. Howard, K., & Tivnan, E. (2003). Act natural: How to speak to any audience. New York: Random House.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Itai Cohen
    • 1
  • Melanie Dreyer-Lude
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Department of DramaUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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