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Presentation Skills – your four body parts that matter

Tags: Presentations | Meetings | Impact

23rd January

People often get nervous when they are presenting.

Hardly surprising. You’re standing up, looking at loads of people who are sitting down, with every single eye on you.

What’s to love about that?

And unfortunately, your inside can have a big impact on your outside. If you feel nervous inside, it shows. People can tell. And nobody feels comfortable watching a nervous presenter.

But fortunately – and this is really useful – your outside can influence your inside. In other words, when you know how to set-up your body so you look confident, it helps you feel confident.

And there are four parts to your body that are particularly important:

  • Feet. Stand with your feet 12-18 inches apart – that’s a bit wider than you expect. And with your weight more on your toes than your heels. Doing this gives you balance both ways – you’re unlikely to sway to the side or backwards. A firm base is the bedrock of helping you look – and feel – confident
  • Hands. Know your default position for your hands. Where you’ll put them when you aren’t waving them about. When you watch the news tonight, you’ll see the presenters’ default position is their hands clasped lightly in front of them. They break from this default position to wave them about a bit. But they always come back to this default. So, know where your default is. That stops you worrying about your hands
  • Eyes. You have to look at people’s eyes. Or they wonder why you aren’t doing. If you’re presenting to a few people, randomly look at each of them. Make sure everyone gets an Eye Connection with you. If you’re speaking to a large group, split the group into quarters, and make sure you spend roughly equal time looking at each of these quarters. That way, everyone feels you’re looking towards them.
  • Chin. It’s perfectly possible to look someone in the eyes, but your nerves drag your head down. So, you’ve got eye contact, but your chin is pointing at the floor, not at theirs. So make sure you lift your head up so have both Eye Contact and Chin Contact. This also helps keep your posture ramrod straight

There are other things you can do to reduce your nerves. I’ll explore these with you next week. But, for now, when you’re presenting…

Action Point

Practise delivering your presentation, using the four body parts in this Tip. It makes a huge difference – once you’ve got your feet, hands, eyes and chin right, your whole body looks right. And then you feel right. Much better for your audience. And for you.

More free stuff - month 4 of my Video Club has loads of advice on presentations. Here’s one of them. It shows the four things to master every time you present.