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Movement when speaking

Speaker at a business convention and presentations. The audience on the large number of people. The announcer with a microphone in his handsIf you read my last post, you’ve probably concluded it’s better to move during your talk than to stand still. So how do you move effectively?

Public speaking coaches are largely united on this point: move only  for a reason. Don’t just pace back and forth like a caged tiger. Some feel that’s a captivating display of energy. It’s actually an irritant that will distract people from your message.

When you move, then, have a purpose in mind. Here are a few good ones:

  1. You’re about to make a point. Take a couple of steps toward the audience to get their attention and signal that something’s coming.
  2. You’ve made your point. Take a step or two back to signal that the point’s been made and you’re about to change gears.
  3. You’re transitioning. Take a step or two to the side so your physical position signals a change in your talk. This is a great opportunity to address a new segment of the audience, too.
  4. You’re illustrating some action you are describing: “Slowly, I turned.” When words and action combine, they become more memorable.

Here are a couple of fine points:

  1. When you step to the side, lead with the foot closest to your destination. As a young speaker I failed to do that and looked so awkward people thought I was going to collapse.
  2. Don’t cross the slide projector’s beam on your way from here to there. Yeah, Steve Jobs crossed the beam, but he was Steve Jobs and could get away with it.

Here’s a final thought:

Don’t choreograph your moves. Be yourself. People want to see the real you. Your motion, when you are yourself, shows your confidence.