I don’t know who first decided you should give a speech from a stool, but that was a terrible decision that somehow became a trend.
It might work at a bar, as you lean over and tell the bartender your woes, but a stool is terrible on stage.
Here are three reasons I never use stools, or even small chairs, when I speak.
1. It makes me look shorter.
Nothing establishes authority like a speaker who has legs dangling off of a stool like an eager four year old who somehow found his way on stage. You might be taller than me, but stools tend to be oversized and your legs are going to swing. I promise.
2. Smoothly getting on or off a stool is impossible.
You know who looks good climbing onto a stool or small chair? No one. It’s an awkward look, even if you’re not also trying to deliver a cogent speech.
3. It’s easy to fall off a stool.
Why would you possibly trust your whole stage presence to a piece of furniture that has been dragged around a venue? Know what I never put my faith in? The structural integrity of a stool that has been sitting under a stack of chairs in a storage closet for six months until three hours ago.
Let me illustrate that last point with a photo.
I took this at an event recently. That stool is designed to throw you off. Look at the front. It’s slippery and curved downward to make sure you slide off it the minute you sit down. That’s not a stool, that’s a booby trap.
Is it weird that I have this many thoughts about stools? Sure, but I’m not about to send you into the wild without real information about the pitfalls of public speaking.
Never trust a stool.
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