In the last five installments, we’ve covered a fair amount ground. First, there was planning presentations, then using your voice, followed by sparking audience participation, and then presentation materials. Now it’s time to finish things off by choreographing how you move during your presentation.How many presentations have you sat through where the speaker stood stock still behind a podium? Some speakers can get away with this; they have a commanding voice or the visuals behind them are so spectacular that they should just stay out of the way. However, those situations are rare.
Any person who has been through sales training is familiar with how moving your body is as important to closing the deal as what you say. Some experts believe that body language accounts for 90 percent of our conversations. Remember that, because a good presentation is nothing more than a conversation writ large.
The point is to be aware that your movements can be positive and they can be negative. Ignore them at your peril and move with purpose.
* Keep moving — Movement attracts the eye and if you can get your audience to watch you, the odds are that they’ll also listen to you. However, moving constantly will tire them out, not to mention you, and can be distracting. Strike a balance between moving and stopping.
* Multiple movements — Move in multiple dimensions. Most speakers have a signature move that they do over and over again — you’ll often see them parodied on Saturday Night Live. There’s nothing wrong with a signature move, but if you mix it up it will have more effect and you won’t get carpal tunnel. You can walk across the stage or room, you can point, you extend your palms, you can tilt your head, you can raise your eyebrows. Don’t do any one thing over and over again. Mix it up.
* Move confidently — Stand up straight, be excited, stride the stage with a spring in your step. If your posture indicates that what you’re saying is interesting, your audience will notice — even if they don’t know they noticed.
One of the most dynamic presenters that you’ll see today is Steve Jobs. Watch any of his keynotes at MacWorld and you’ll see a master of movement. He never holds still. He paces the stage, he gestures, he points, and it’s hard not to pay attention.
Presentation Zen has a roster of presentations from the recent TED (Technology, Education, & Design) Conference. Some are dynamic and others define wooden. Watch and learn.