Archive for October, 2008

Public Speaking: Movement

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Regardless of how we feel inside, we all want to at least APPEAR confident when we speak.  After studying thousands of presenters at various skill levels, I found this common denominator among confident speakers:  They tend to move to a spot and STAY there for a while.  Then, they will move to another spot, and remain there for a while.  This is to say, they neither pace nor stay in one place.  The movement is purposeful, captures attention and exudes confidence.

Sounds easy?  It’s not.  The challenge is that when you are before an audience, it FEELS a bit awkward to move say 15 feet to your right and stop to make a few points.  Not only does it feel odd, it also tends to temporarily consume a large part of your  ”thinking capacity” – almost like a computer slowing when it multitasks.

It sounds funny that we might have a hard time “walking and talking” at the same time, but my experience in training people is just that.  There can be so much self analysis going on in a presenters mind, that it is hard to focus on delivery.  You can see presenters losing their train of thought when they attempt purposeful movement.  Most end up not moving or pacing – neither of which consume much  ”thinking capacity”, and both of which detract from the presentation.

What’s the solution?

1) In your  notes, write an arrow with a stop sign at at least one or two points in your presentation.  Now you won’t have to “remember” anything extra.  Your notes will guide you to the left and right; so that your entire audience benefits from your physical presence.

2) When you  rehearse – make sure to move to a few different spots.

3) When using props and handouts put them in the different locations from which you wish to present.  You will naturally walk to that location, then you can stay there and make a few points.

Public speaking and purposeful movement go hand-in-hand.  Very few techniques show such great confidence as meaningful movement.  Using these suggestions, not only will you appear more composed, but you will also connect more effectively with your audience.

Give these tips a whirl and let us know how they worked by commenting on this blog.

Happy Speaking!

Public Speaking and Gestures

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