There is a big difference between moving on stage and pacing; and, I am a huge advocate of the former. The latter, however, is something you must stop if you want your audience to pay attention to your words.

Moving on Stage Those who move effectively treat their audience as if in conversation. Every aspect of their delivery looks and sounds natural. While they may be (and should be) nervous, you do not hear it in their voice or see it in their body language. The movement of their body is not rhythmic nor is it planned. In fact, the expression of the speaker is surprisingly reflective of the response of the audience, just as it would be if that person were having a conversation with friends or family. When moving on stage is handled comfortably, it is generally not noticed by the audience.

Pacing on Stage Those who walk back and forth, treading the same path over and over and over again are possibly nervous or just excited and unaware of their movement. The problem with pacing is that it is rhythmic and it diverts your audience’s attention from your message to your motion. In this respect, pacing is very, very obvious and it is a distraction.

If you are a pacer, the best way to stop this rhythmic movement is to practice standing still for 5 seconds as you speak and then take a few steps while you are talking. Stop for a few seconds and then take a few more steps. You can do this in your own home, office, classroom or some type of hall or meeting room. While you may not have the ability to rehearse your presentation in the last two venues, even your living room will work. Arrange your furniture so that you have enough space to move comfortably.

If you find this exercise difficult to accomplish, then you don’t know your material as well as you should. You should be rehearsing your presentation many, many times over the course of several days or even weeks. Once you are comfortable with the layout of your material and know it well, you will find it easier to concentrate on your movement.

The problem with pacing is that it is trance-like. Anything you do on stage that detracts from your message makes you ineffective as a speaker. Obviously your goal in addressing an audience is to inform or persuade. Stop the pacing and start moving: give your listeners the opportunity to pay attention to what you are saying and not what you are doing.

Author's Bio: 

The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To get started improving your presentation skills, click Voice Training and Presentation Skills for Nancy's free ebook.