Most ambitious, achieving professionals already have a measure of confidence, charisma, and presence that got them to where they are and that will carry them through a trip to the podium. Nonetheless, how you comport and present yourself at the podium is pretty critical.
Here are 4 simple best practices tips that can enhance your delivery:
- Use your voice.
Modulate your tone as a way of changing things up for the audience. Attention spans are short and demand regular stimulus changes. Try to speak louder, softer, faster, or slower as appropriate for different portions of your presentation. And pause. Pauses are good; your audience needs time to digest your ideas.
- Use the room.
If there’s a podium, try to get out from behind it. And, if possible, move around the room. That, too, will stimulate attention, changing the scene a bit and keeping the audience alert. However . . .
- Don’t pace, and be aware of any fidgety habits.
Remember what your third-grade teacher told you the first time you stood up to give a book report: Stand up straight. Don’t jingle or play with things in your pockets. Don’t fuss with your hair. We all want to hear what you have to say.
- Make eye contact.
That’s huge. And not just with one friendly face. Try to cover as many faces and as much of the room as you can. Do not be put off (and I hear this all the time) by that “one guy in the front who was glaring at me the whole time.” One man’s glare is another man’s look of concentration. You never know, so don’t be distracted by one face. Just keep on looking at everyone.
[Excerpted from Jock Talk: 5 Communication Principles for Leaders as Exemplified by Legends of the Sports World, www.jocktalkbook.com]