An illusionist once took me and some friends aside after his performance for a massive youth group in Hong Kong and demonstrated how he fostered an immediate connection with his audience:
There are usually two small pieces of tape on the stage in an “X” or “T” formation where you’re supposed to stand—it’s centered, and the lights focus on that point. It’s called your “mark.”
“I always position myself in the back corner of the stage,” Steve Varro said. “When the curtain opens, I walk in a curved line—center and forward—to hit my mark. You want to move forward to greet your audience. It creates intimacy.”
We’ve all seen speeches that begin with a speaker being caught off guard, hustling up from the audience, moving away from them to get in position. As Varro explained, it’s more effective to position yourself strategically so you’re moving forward to hit your mark—whether it be tape on the stage, your place behind a lectern or a spot on the ground at a groundbreaking ceremony.
Also, when first addressing your audience, stay on your mark for a bit to focus and command their attention. Too many speakers wander from the start and never let up.