Newsletter January 2010
Don’t be afraid to …
…take control of, and use, your speaking area.
When you give a presentation there will be an area you are speaking from – the speaking area.
Often it’s something we may not pay attention to, as we have spent most of our time and energy working on our presentation.
A couple of considerations to bear in mind are:
1) Take control of your speaking area.
Many people go to the speaking area assuming it has to stay as it is. However, within reason, feel free to change it to suit your needs and to make sure you feel as comfortable as you can.
Ideally get there early and set it up as you would like. If there is going to be a speaker before you, work out how you will change it once they have finished speaking. You may need to explain to the audience what you are doing, if it is something you have to do yourself.
Work out in advance what you will need. Do you need, for example, a table? Two tables? A white screen? A flipchart? A lectern? A stool? Some props? Arrange for them to be there.
Also work out what you won’t need.
For example, one time I was speaking at a conference straight after morning tea. At break time everybody went out of the room, leaving a very large and very heavy lectern right in the middle of the speaking area. It wasn’t something I needed so I spent several minutes slowly inching it out of the way!
If you prefer not to have the lectern, the table, the large potted plant or whatever else may be there, then move it out of the way.
In addition, work out if anything needs to be moved around. You don’t have to keep the flipchart, table or lectern in the same place if it doesn’t suit you. Move them to wherever will work best for you.
2) Use your speaking area.
Don’t feel you have to stay in the one spot; you can use as much of your speaking area as you like.
If done well, moving around the area can help get your message across effectively. You can, for example, move around and ‘show’ how something happened: “… and one of the students marched over to the table and slammed his book down.” “… so I walked back to my office very, very slowly…”
It will also give the audience some visual variety which will keep them more engaged.
It can help you connect with the audience, by moving nearer to different parts of the audience during your presentation.
It can help you look more confident and in control, and make your presence appear ‘bigger’ if you use more of the speaking area.
And it can help reduce feelings of nervousness. Sometimes, if we are nervous, standing on the one spot can help exacerbate those feelings. If we move around – purposefully it can help dissipate the nervous tension we hold in our body.
So, don’t be afraid to …
… take control of your speaking area
… and use your speaking area.
Copyright Kim Chamberlain 2010