Can you turn off an audience because of the way you are presenting yourself?
One speaker wanting to create a cognitive dissociation or because he had a total lapse of conscious thought, came out on the stage screaming and hollering. Oh yeh, he was jumping up and down too. He appeared very excited.
Only thing, he did this for close to three minutes.
Even worse, it was recorded for everyone in the world to watch him make a fool of himself. Although this is not your style, how could your physical presentation affect and audience?
Quite simply, the way you go about presenting yourself can make or break your ability to have rapport with an audience.
Looking beyond dress and grooming, what other presentation tips could help improve your image?
Leave the Lectern
If appropriate, leave the lectern. Teaching Hospital auditoriums are notorious for having a speaker who looks like an ant from the back of the room. If you want to shake things up a bit and if you have a movable mic, then move it and your self.
At some point when you want to wake up the audience, pick up the mic and move across the stage. Make your movements on purpose and not just for the sake of moving.
Perhaps you notice someone to your left paying you with a head nod. You acknowledge it and move toward that person taking just 3-5 steps. Much more and the focus will be on what you are about to do rather than what you are about to say.
What You Need to Be for the TV
Occasionally our presentations will be on camera. The feed may be to a satellite group who will also be viewing or even TV coverage for the local news station. Best case, you will be used as footage in a documentary.
A few general rules of dress for the camera.
Choose dark solid color suits but not black or navy blue (they are hard to light). Avoid stripes and patterns as they will look too busy. If your very dark skinned, don’t wear a suit as dark as your skin. You will become hard to distinguish. Likewise avoid the other extreme of light colored suit..
Neck ties and apparel should be in muted tones.
Shirts and blouses, wear a very light gray or very light powder blue. They will often pick up as white and give a better contrast to the skin. Pastels are the best.
If your reading from notes, the same applies. Use light gray or light blue paper for your notes to allow the lighting to best enhance and balance your look.
Don’t wear large earrings or flashy jewelry. They don’t look good on the camera.
If you use eye shadow, consider not using it when in front of the camera. The instant you look down, your audience will see two black eyes instead of the beautiful accented eyes you hoped to portray. If you do use eye shadow anyway, please take a look at your self in a mirror. Close one eye and you will see what the audience will get a flash of if and when you look down.
Practice In Front of No Audience
Yes, many speakers actually practice their entire speech at the place where they will give it only with out the audience.
This allows you to get the feel of the auditorium, the lighting and if they can be turned on, even the public address system.
Then, if you do this a day before the speech, picture yourself giving the speech prior to going to sleep. If you have never tried this, you will be amazed at how it will improve your speaking.
These are just a few of the ways we present ourselves. Do you have more thoughts to suggest or offer? Please send them in to be considered.
So be mindful of how you are presenting yourself on the podium or on the camera.