Tip #26: Check posture, presence, and projection

old businesswoman smiling

There are three elements that contribute to an effective presenter’s platform, or stand-up training, effectiveness. The first is posture: how you physically carry yourself. Do you stand erect, with your shoulders comfortably back and head up- or do you hunch your shoulders and shrink into yourself? Your posture has a direct impact on how your audience will perceive you (presence) and how easily they will be able to hear and understand you (projection).

The second is presence: the impression of your personality. You can appear professional, self confident, calm, and approachable. Or you can appear uncertain, anxious, distant, and humorless. It depends on your posture, your tone of voice, your willingness to smile, your comfort standing in front of people, your general or “on-stage” personality, your sense of humor, your choice of words, and your joy and/or belief in what you are doing.

The third is projection: the range and clarity of your voice. Some presenters are easy to hear and understand. Their words are loud and clear enough to distinguish their meaning. Other presenters speak softly or too rapidly, slurring syllables and making it difficult to hear and understand what they are saying.

Your posture has a great bearing on your ability to project. If you hunch over and constrict your diaphragm, it is almost impossible to get a deep breath and expel it in strong and carrying tones. However, if you stand comfortably centered and erect, and speak from your diaphragm, you will be able to bounce your voice off a far wall!

After you have taken the trouble to research and design interesting and effective learning content and activities, why would you want to unwittingly sabotage it by appearing meek and uncertain, and swallowing your words so that no one can hear them? The simplest way to check your three P’s is to have someone videotape a short presentation. Typically, people are pleasantly surprised when they play back their tape. And if there is a need to polish one of the P’s, they have immediate and useful feedback.

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