What's in this session?

  • #1: Hold the mic in a consistent spot (1:31)
  • #2: Pitch and pace (3:56)
  • #3: Transitions (5;38)
  • #4: Eye contact (7:20)
  • #5: Hand movements (8:40)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Alex Mills: Well, hey there, and welcome to Pro Church Daily. The show where, in 10 minutes or less, you’re going to get a daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus, while we try and navigate the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years.

I’m your Host, Alex Mills, joined as always by the boss man, it’s Brady Shearer. And today, we’re going to talk about five ways to speak better from stage.

Brady Shearer: Got a DM from a member of Pro Church Nation, asking about tips for doing announcements on stage, being a host on stage, really any type of on-stage speaking. And we’ve talked a lot about video announcements and presenting on camera.

Alex Mills: Yep.

Brady Shearer: But presenting live is a completely different beast.

Alex Mills: Oh, so different.

Brady Shearer: And a lot of the times, the tips of speaking on camera do not carry over whatsoever-

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: And so I wanted to talk about five things that I’ve really focused on to improve my own speaking on stage, and perhaps they can be helpful to some of the listeners, viewers of Pro Church Daily.

First things first. If you’re watching this episode, you should see on the screen right now, the Planning Center sheet that I get-

Alex Mills: Okay.

Brady Shearer: When I’m on service to do the hosting at my church. And so I think this example is from the end of June. I tried to use a somewhat recent one. And if you’re listening to this, you can just go to the show notes, and watch this version, and see it there.

But that’ll kind of give you an idea of what it looks like when I receive the announcements from my church because I’m not writing the announcements. They’re kind of giving me the bullet points. “Here’s what we need to cover.”

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: And then I’m putting it all together, into ideally, a cohesive moment in service. So first of the five tips we want to talk about is just where you’re holding the mic. It’s different for everybody because you’ve got two options. You can be holding a handheld mic.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Or you can be using the lapel-

Alex Mills: Which is what I use. And you prefer to hold the mic.

Brady Shearer: And that’s probably just from familiarity, but I prefer the handheld because that means, I only have to worry about one hand.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: I feel like I don’t know how to do announcements with the lapel because it feels like I’m preaching.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: Right.

Alex Mills: Yeah, I guess doing announcements is different than preaching. I do prefer the lapel for preaching.

Brady Shearer: Yes.

Alex Mills: But if I was hosting and doing announcements, I’d probably prefer the handheld.

Brady Shearer: I feel like the first time I did announcements for this church that I’m at now, they gave me the lapel. And I must have just gone into teaching mode because they never gave it to me again. And I think that’s the wise decision-

Alex Mills: Yeah, [inaudible 00:02:13] handheld from now on.

Brady Shearer: So the first part of being a good on stage host is your audio and making sure that the levels remain consistent and you’re not a headache for the person in the sound booth. So for me, I don’t have a chin dimple. But if I did, that’s where I would press-

Alex Mills: [inaudible 00:02:31] right in there.

Brady Shearer: [inaudible 00:02:30] up against. And it’s a good thing I don’t have a chin dimple. You get like some [inaudible 00:02:35]. But that’s where I rest the mic.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: And I think I actually learned that from my youth pastor. That’s where I think he always held the mic. And what’s great about it is that it’s kind of like, I think what they call it is a knock. No, no. That’s not the right word. But I did archery one summer, and basically, the best, one of the tips, the keys to being a good archist-

Alex Mills: Archer.

Brady Shearer: That’s the one. Is to always, when you’re drawing back the bow, to hold it to like the … There’s a special word for it.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: It’s not an anchor, it’s not a knock. But whatever it is, it’s like you hold it that exact same place every single time.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: Because that way, you eliminate the variable of holding the different place, your trajectory is all off. Similarly, I hold the mic in the same place every single time, against the chin dimple that does not exist.

Alex Mills: Yeah, I always wonder when I watch Judah Smith preach. If you’ve ever seen him preach, he’s got the handheld.

Brady Shearer: Oh, yeah.

Alex Mills: And he … I don’t understand. Like he must pay their sound like man a lot of money because he will hold that thing like down at his waist-

Brady Shearer: Yes.

Alex Mills: And start yelling. And somehow it always sounds good. And so his sound person deserves an award of some high degree of merit. But like you said, to deliver that consistent audio and to help the sound person. Just having in that one consistent place. And you hold it on your chin, is going to lend well to that.

Brady Shearer: So that’s the first tip. Second tip along the same lines of audio is pitch and pace. Pitch and pace. So now that you’ve found a comfortable resting position, that’s going to be your default position for your mic placement and holding. Now it’s time to actually focus on your voice.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: If you listen to my voice right now on Pro Church Daily, I’m trying to do the same thing. Where the pitch of my voice goes up and down, and so I’ll end a sentence and be like, “And that’s where you hold your mic.” And at the beginning of the sentence, I’ll be like, “And that’s where you hold your mic.”

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: And this just allows for variety, dynamic range within your own voice. Monotony is the devil-

Alex Mills: Yeah, it really is.

Brady Shearer: When it comes to sitting and listening to a person talk. It is so uninteresting, and boring, and it’s so much easier to tune out. You’re already doing announcements. People are tuning out as it is.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: Don’t give them another reason to do so. And then similarly, with pitch and pace, the first part is pitch, the second part is pace. I will speed up and then I’ll do what’s called a pregnant pause.

Alex Mills: Nice.

Brady Shearer: In preacher world, anyway. And then I’ll slow down. And I’ll use pauses very intentionally when I really want a point to hit. So when I’m mentioning the next step for an announcement I’ll be like, “And go to the big blue wall in the lobby,” and I’ll just let it linger for a second-

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: Because that’s what I really want them to care about. When I’m just like breezing through another part of the announcement, I’ll make sure that I quicken the pace. And again, mixing it up, variety, pitch, and pace.

Alex Mills: You don’t want these variances in like volume and cadence to be too dramatic. Like you don’t want to go-

Brady Shearer: Right.

Alex Mills: From like a whisper to-

Brady Shearer: You’re not preaching, okay.

Alex Mills: Like a full-on yell. But like you said, like a monotone voice, especially during announcements. It’s like, “I’m already on the verge of falling asleep here anyways. Like just change things up a little bit for me so I can stay engaged.”

Brady Shearer: Precisely. Third tip is transitions. If you look at the Planning Center sheet on the screen, or I’ll read it aloud for those that are listening, one of the things on this Planning Center sheet that I was given is, the very first section is called Welcome and Giving. And here’s what I’m reading on the Planning Center sheet. It says, “Welcome, followed by, if it’s your first time, you need to know that the reason we do what we do is driven by a deep conviction to, number one.”

It goes on, blah, blah, blah, blah. And again, our vision and it closes out at the end with like just a harsh ending. And so this was actually a new part of the announcements that we hadn’t done before. Where they wanted me to from stage really dive into the vision of the church.

Alex Mills: Okay.

Brady Shearer: And talk about why we do what we do, and partner that with the new visitor welcome. And so this was a new script for me that I had to go outside of my normal routine. The problem was, is that I had to start with welcoming new visitors. Then jump into the vision, kind of casting.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: And then jump back into the new visitors.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: And so I had to think through this transition ahead of time. Because if you don’t think through transitions, it’s very obvious-

Alex Mills: Oh, yeah.

Brady Shearer: That you did not think through transitions. And that is one of the easiest ways to kind of take people out of the moment, where they’re trying to, hopefully, take their next step and hear about the opportunities within your church. And if you aren’t a good host with those transitions, it’s very obvious and awkward.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: So I think through those, probably more than any other part of the announcements. Because a lot of the times with announcements, there’s no easy way to make a transition from the men’s ministry retreat for man church.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: To like the youth ministry having a movie night.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: And so you have to find ways to make it natural to go from one to the other.

Alex Mills: That’s a good one. Hit me with tip number four. This one is a good one.

Brady Shearer: Tip number four has to do with eye contact. So obviously, you want to be working all sides of the room. So don’t do that thing where you’re staying on one side of the stage.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: And the right side of the auditorium is like, “I like this guy.”

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: The other side’s like, “We’re here, too.”

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: So make sure that you’re going left, center, right, and then back again. But also, the depth of the room. Our auditorium is pretty big, it can seat about … Actually, I have no idea how many it can seat. Many people.

Alex Mills: Yes.

Brady Shearer: So I’ve got to go left, center, and right. But also front and back so I’m not just looking at the first couple of rows. But then another thing that people don’t consider too often is, let’s say you have someone else on stage with you. When they’re talking, it’s very important that you look directly at them.

So right now, I’m looking at the camera like I would be looking out into the auditorium. I’m speaking and Alex is looking at me, so that when you’re watching this, you look at Alex, and you follow Paul as he’s following Christ.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: You look at Alex, he’s looking at me, so you also look at me.

Alex Mills: Yes.

Brady Shearer: Same thing when there’s a video on the screen.

Alex Mills: Oh, yeah.

Brady Shearer: If you’re standing on stage and they’re playing a video, you need to be looking at that video.

Alex Mills: Yeah, you’ve seen it a 100 times, it doesn’t matter.

Brady Shearer: It doesn’t matter. You need to look at it, you need to laugh at it when there’s a funny part.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: You need to nod your head when there’s a good part. You need to be leading the way-

Alex Mills: To cry when there’s a really moving part-

Brady Shearer: Well, you need to [inaudible 00:08:34].

Alex Mills: [inaudible 00:08:33].

Brady Shearer: I don’t care if you’ve heard that baptism video a 100 times. I don’t care if you shot the video. You’re in the room. You cried once, you cry again.

Alex Mills: Yes.

Brady Shearer: And the final tip has to do with hand movements. Again, I only have my left hand to use for gestures.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: There are three gestures that I probably go to the most. The first is what I call The Windmill-

Alex Mills: Oh, you’ve got names for them.

Brady Shearer: I’ve got names for them.

Alex Mills: Of course, you do.

Brady Shearer: I thought it would be fun to give some names to them. I don’t cognitively go on stage, “All right. Do the windmill.”

Alex Mills: I’m going to do the windmill today, and for this transition, I’m going to do The Open Hand.

Brady Shearer: Now you’re just giving away the names.

Alex Mills: Sorry.

Brady Shearer: Okay, so the first one is called the windmill. So I’ve got the mic in my right hand, pressed against my chin. And then with my left hand, I’m kind of like-

Alex Mills: A classic.

Brady Shearer: Making a circular motion, right. This is just … And we’re just keeping things going, right.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: And you’re just following along. And you’re getting just deep into this announcement. You’re so ready to take a next step.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: And then right when I’ve lulled them, that’s when I go into The Open Hand. Where basically-

Alex Mills: Our viewers on YouTube are getting a real treat at the end of this episode.

Brady Shearer: Okay, so the second one is called the open hand. Basically this is like, imagine you’re worshiping, and your hands are like flat, facing-

Alex Mills: You’re receiving.

Brady Shearer: Your palms are facing the ceiling.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Right, so right hand to the chin with the mic, and the second-

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: I’m holding it out.

Alex Mills: Nice.

Brady Shearer: And this is like, “You know what? We’d love to have you join us for this men’s retreat-

Alex Mills: Nice.

Brady Shearer: “Called man church.” And then the final one is the stop and pause. So think about if you’re at like a middle school slow dance and someone came up to you and was like, “This is how far between you and the holy spirit, or whatever. This is how much room the spirit,” so basically you hold your hand out straight, but you kind of like make this like stop point at the end.

Alex Mills: Okay.

Brady Shearer: And this is where I do the stop and pause. I’ll couple this with a stop and pause in my voice. “So go to the big blue wall in the lobby.” I hold my hand out and people are like, “Whoa, I’m ready to take a next step.”

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: So it’s kind of funny when you deconstruct all of these things, but-

Alex Mills: It’s incredible.

Brady Shearer: Those are five tips that hopefully you can use to be a better on stage presenter.

Alex Mills: Nice.

Brady Shearer: And if you’re looking for even more on church announcements, we did this giant guide, everything that I’ve ever learned from presenting more than 30,000 church announcements. It’s called the Two-Part Church Announcements Formula, our featured resource for the day. You can find the link for that in show notes. Thanks for watching this episode of Pro Church Daily. We’ll see you next time

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