Think I might need your help here. Maybe I need to add this stance to my repertoire?
Those pictured are really good at what they do, mind you, are pros and make what they do look easy. It’s not. Both pictures, if you can’t tell, were snapped from my TV (no, I don’t make a habit of this) and are the best way I can illustrate this point. One is from a national news broadcast I saw way early yesterday morning. The second is from a show where robots fight each other. Both hosts must find it comfortable to stand this way.
As did a delivery skills workshop participant I coached recently! Using side-coaching (I interrupt if there’s a point to make that might help, etiquette agreed upon by workshop attendees) I stopped the performer while in this crossed-leg position.
“The way you’re standing now…tell me about that please.” I said.
“Oh, this…I stand this way all the time,” she said.
“Ah, so it must be comfortable for you?” I pressed a bit, standing from my chair to try on the pose. “I’m trying to figure out how you stay balanced!” The performer giggled it off and continued without adjustment.
You athletes, yoga enthusiasts, dancers, singers, marksmen—whoever you are whose discipline demands balance—can you do your task better in this stance? I’ve seen warm-ups that incorporate this where I believe the focus to be on stretching the hamstring, but to be performing in this position?
The focus here seems to be on something else. As our workshop friend said, it’s comfortable. Perhaps it is as well for the talent on TV. But how is it for the Audience, those for whom the talent’s performance is delivered and the sole reason they’re even standing there?
For me, the cross-leg stance is a precarious position that lacks a sense of balance. Or forthrightness. It may be that the Actors pictured have spent too much time on the set and need a break?
Regardless, it’s distracting, and that breaks a key fundamental of excellence as communicators: Eliminate any distractions that may get between Actor and Audience.
Another view on this comes in point #5 of a nice article, “5 Ways That Leadership Is Like Acting” by President and CEO of FirstRain, Penny Herscher. Ms. Herscher says, “How you stand, how you sit, how you hold your hands (don’t fidget)–these things subconsciously influence how people see you. Hold yourself confidently, stand up straight because someone is assessing how you feel and how much you believe in what you are saying (or selling) based on your stance.”
Bottom line: Clear distraction. Get to action.
Your stage. Your performance. And with a solid stance, you’re on!