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From the desk of Steve Lowell, Master Speaker and Mentor to those who speak in public.


Share the Stage, But Be Careful

On occasion, I like to share the stage. I’ll bring up a volunteer to participate in a demonstration, or even bring up a guest to share a quick story. This can be very effective, but also very dangerous, and you’ll need to decide for yourself how adventurous you want to get.

In item #83, I explained the importance of staying within your time limit. If you plan to share the stage, you’ll need to make sure your guest agrees to, and abides by, a time limit, or you may have to politely interject, and stop them from taking over your program.

Another risk is that your guest may not behave exactly according to plan. I invited a volunteer to the stage once, and, to prove a point, set up a scenario that was meant to garner a specific reaction from the volunteer. This scenario had him walking down the street, and had him see me coming toward him. He was to recognize me as his long-lost brother. He was to have been searching for me all of his life, and right out of the blue, there I was. I asked him how he would respond. I expected him to open his arms, and to welcome his long-lost brother back into his life, but instead, this volunteer put his hands on his hips, and yelled angrily, “Where the hell have you been?” Not exactly the response I was hoping for.

So, what’s the lesson? Sharing the stage can get a laugh, and it can enhance the experience for your audience, as well as help you prove a point. Be aware, however, that it can also be fraught with peril. Be prepared for the possibility that things might not develop the way you expected them to.

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