Pretty straightforward, this one, so I’ll keep it short. Strap in, here we go:
Moving around is a lot more interesting for your audience than standing still.
Got that? Great. See you next week.
What? You want more? Oh, alright then.
If someone walks to the other side of the room when giving a presentation, they’ve immediately created a little more interest than the static presenter. Take it to the next level (this is my favourite ice-breaking manoeuvre when presenting) by walking to the back of the room or into the audience if possible. I like to then mention how this is unexpected for them, how some people now have to turn their chairs around, and that I may have been scaring some people. I’m describing and analysing what’s happening at the time, a very useful stand-up technique which metaphorically ruffles the audience’s hair and lets them know that I like to improvise and deliver surprises, in a friendly way. It sets the whole thing up well by letting them know:
- They’ll need to pay attention.
- I may be quite interesting.
- I’m interested in them.
- I have one of those ‘sense of humour’ things that seem so popular these days.
Your fight-or-flight instinct will probably be screaming at you to move physically, so give in a little and try walking around. Don’t pace around like a caged tiger, but try standing in different parts of the room. Slowly walking while maintaining eye contact can also lend you authority by making you look at ease, like a true expert (even if you feel nervous). Find the style that works for you; I like moving around a lot, but you may find that moving occasionally works best. Speaking of which…
This one’s crafty and works well for you and your audience. Use a few different locations in the room to illustrate the basic story of your presentation. For example, if you have three sections, deliver the first one in the standard speaker’s position (near the laptop/lectern), but for the middle section of the material – which should involve some sort of change or interesting course of action – go to the other side of the room. Then return to the original location for the final section. This helps ‘illustrate’ your structure but also helps you to remember that structure.
Move around and you will help put both you and your audience at ease. Try it when rehearsing; I guarantee it will help with your nerves.
A video filmed in a quarry, also on movement!