My theory is that public speaking is an athletic performance, it’s really a sport. Why? Because it relies on skills that are just as physical as those used in sports.
Gestures. Gesture frequently to emphasize and “illustrate” points. Gestures make you the center of the action and continually refocus the audience’s attention on youz. Make gestures with your whole arm, above the waist, and away from your body. Gesture with one arm at a time. Two-arm gestures tend to get your hands working together, and that can be distracting to the audience.
Voice Projection. Project your voice to the people in the back of the room and speak forcefully, even if you are using a microphone. Speaking forcefully will give your voice passion. A microphone amplifies that passion. Don’t worry about being too loud. Most presenters speak at the mid-point of the volume they are capable of, i.e., on a scale of 1 to 10, they speak at 5. But at volume 7 or 8, audiences recognize the speaker as being authoritative. So speak at 7 or 8 and get that extra benefit.
Posture. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and distribute your weight equally between them. Don’t pace. Don’t shift your weight from foot to foot. This posture is the least distracting appearance you can offer on a stage. And because the audience detects so few distractions, you can force them to focus on your facial expression and your hand gestures, both of which reinforce your message.
Eye-Brain Control. Limit your gaze. As you speak, look into the eyes of an audience member. Continue to look into that person’s eyes until you have completed a thought or a sentence, pause, then move your gaze to another person’s eyes. It also allows you to get support from smiles and nods of encouragement, which you cannot see when you scan the audience or watch your visuals.
These skills are all about being in control of your position, force, and speed when you are on the platform. Like any sport — from handball to figure skating — they are about energy and execution. In the same way that football players review videos of their performance and practice, Executive Presentation Skills®
The next time you are called on to make a presentation, practice the above physical skills, and play to win.
Resource: Bill Rosenthal, communispond.com