Sunday, August 09, 2009

The ABC's of Public Speaking - W is for Walking Around

W is for Walking Around

Effective speakers move around the room. Do not forget to walk when you are speaking, as nobody wants to see as statue deliver a presentation. If you appear stiff or stuck the audience will see that as part of your personality. If you utilize the freedom to command the space, you will be seen being in control.

Many people feel a sense of security if they can hold onto the lectern and keep close to their notes. Having their body shielded saves them from needing to worry about how to stand or what do do with their hands. They grip the sides of the wooden structure and rotate their head from left to right, thinking that their eye contact is enough of a connection with the audience to show their humanity.

When you are given the choice of a stationary microphone on the lectern, or a wireless microphone, always choose wireless, as it provides you with flexibility to move when appropriate. If you are speaking to a large crowd where a sound system is necessary you do not want to be tethered to one place on the stage. This is especially true on a large stage with a big audience, as staying in one spot will make you appear small.

If you don't need sound amplification, then there is no excuse for being stuck in one spot - but even in talks in a small room to a dozen people, you still need to walk around.

The best orators go beyond the stage. They walk into the crowd as they deliver their remarks. Oprah Winfrey is famous for this style of speaking while amongst the audience, and it is one of the reasons that people feel connected to her when she speaks.

The best non-professional speaker I have ever seen was a CEO delivering a lunch-time talk to a group of 200 professionals at a meeting of the Central Texas Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth. This group has successful business professionals address their members each month, but this one speaker stood out because he was one with the audience. He flowed away from the front of the room walked around, looking into the eyes of the people. Everyone was captivated. While his message, words, gestures, eye contact, poise and style were all great, it was his movements that made him spectacular.

I have seen equally successful businessmen and women stand anchored to one spot barely ever even shifting their weight from foot to foot whose presentations fell flat.

While it can seem awkward at first to move around, or to roam into the crowd, while speaking, it quickly will become a natural part of your speaking style with a little practice. Make it a point to review your speaking area before you begin your presentation and plan where you can go. Only move when it feels natural, never force yourself into situations that make you uncomfortable.

No matter what the stage set up, at the end of your presentation or during the Q&A part of your talk, move closer to the audience. By crossing toward them you become part of the group. Since the last moments of your talk are your final impressions, this feeling of intimacy will solidify the connection you have to the individuals who have been listening to your talk.

Pay attention to how and when you walk around and you will improve your speaking style in a subtle, yet powerful, way.

Have A Great Day.


1 comment:

Smith said...

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