Recently, a summer intern was about to go onstage to welcome our students to youth group and he asked for some advice. I gave him 5 of the rules I have picked up during my time in ministry—thought I’d share them:

Know the first and last things you are going to say before you get up there. If you aren’t following a specific script and you are going off the cuff, make sure you know where you are setting up some boundaries. It’s like a map, you need to know where you are going to start and where you are going to end. Knowing your first and last lines makes it look clean and professional.

Be yourself. Don’t try to copy someone else’s on stage personality—just be yourself. Stick to your own humor. This is your opportunity for all the students in your group to get to know YOU a little bit better. Don’t waste it by trying to be someone you think is more entertaining.

If you think you are being too energetic, you aren’t. There is a BIG difference between being in front of a camera and being onstage. When you are on stage, you need to bring energy. Amplify yourself. This note is perfect if you are running a game or doing an intro to the service. Turn it on. Don’t be afraid to go big.

Be mindful of your body. Sometimes your body can speak just as loud as your words. Just keep your body language in mind as you are up there. Ask yourself questions like, “Is my back to the audience?,” “Is the shadow from my baseball hat blocking out my face?,” “What am I doing with my hands?” etc. Little things like that make a BIG difference.

Phrasing is everything. Watch what you say carefully. For example, there is a big difference between, “If you haven’t met me yet, my name is Colton” and “If I haven’t met you yet, my name is Colton.” The first makes it sound like it is up to them to come and meet me. The second makes me sound like it is my responsibility and that I want to meet them. This note is especially for the people that like to “make it up as they go.” Choose your words carefully.

What are some onstage tips you would give?