Making presentations sitting down = Less influence & more problems.

When making presentations (or running meetings), it is always recommended that you do so standing up. If you observe excellent communicators in action, they always speak while standing. This is a vital component of becoming a great communicator. However, some people feel more comfortable sitting down. However, this does have negative consequences:

1.     Your body produces less adrenalin. This means that you have a less authoritarian tone of voice.

2.     Your energy level goes down because of the lack of adrenalin which results in a less “animated” & interesting presentation. Your low energy level can be felt by, and affects, the audience.

3.     You can not direct your energy at the “Power” & the influence(s) as you are blocked by the furniture: desk, lectern, etc.

4.     The presentation becomes “heavy”, more “serious” and less memorable.

5.     The audience literally do NOT have to “look up at you” since you are in a position of equality. When standing you are seen as the “Professor / Teacher/ Specialist” This results in more power & control of the group. When seated your role is perceived differently.

6.     Sitting can lead to deviations or side-tracking from the original topic of the presentation.

7.     This can lead to excessive questions and interruptions.

8.     Your Non Verbal communication is more restricted & constrained.

9.     You stop being a presenter and become a mere “computer operator”.

10.     You pay more attention to the computer & your notes than to the audience.

11.     You may be perceived as being “entrenched” or defensive.*

12.    Summary: You and your presentation are LESS convincing, interesting & memorable.

If you are obliged to present sitting down:
–     Use gestures at chest or head level.

–    Use a voice at a slightly higher register,

–    Breathe and speak from the higher part of your chest.

–    Sit upright in the chair with your back against the back of the chair. Do NOT sit in a slouched or “laid back” posture or position.

–     To maintain energy and movement, use a greater number of horizontal gestures with hands and arms ( hands more or less level but vary the difference from your body: some gestures closer and others a little bit further away.

–    Try to find a reason to stand up and use a flipchart / whiteboard. Then stay standing up.
*= Also applicable with presentations using a lectern.

Please feel free to visit our bilingual (English & Spanish) web page:

© Brownlee & Associates, Madrid, Spain, 2011. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied, translated or reproduced in any form without the prior written consent of Brownlee & Associates.

About ianbrownlee

Ian Brownlee, the founder of Brownlee & Associates has been actively involved in the field of interpersonal & transcultural communication since 1977. He has worked in universities and companies in the following countries: Laos, Thailand, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, France, Italy, England, The United States of America & Spain, as a teacher, university lecturer, trainer, researcher & consultant. In addition, his experience in living in these countries, and studying the language & communication and interaction styles of each has aided him in reaching a real understanding of intercultural and transcultural differences and how to resolve them. Ian Brownlee has various masters degrees from British Universities: One in Linguistics & Teaching English Overseas from Manchester University, one in Training & Development with a specialization in the area of Communication and Adult learning awarded by the University of Sheffield. He has also gained professional qualifications in Psychotherapy & Hypnotherapy from various professional organizations. During his university career he has also studied elements of Sociology, Organizational psychology, Educational psychology, Psycholinguistics and Kinesics. He is a licensed Practitioner, Master Practitioner, and Master Trainer in NLP. as well as being a trainer in Ericksonian Hypnosis. He is a member of a wide range of professional organizations involved in Training, Applied Psychology, Hypnotherapy & Ericksonian Hypnosis, Psychotherapy, Interpersonal Communication & Cross-cultural Communication. He is also recognized by the Program on Negotiation, Harvard University, as a Negotiation Skills Trainer & Mediator and has been a collaborator on various projects with the program, and as such is in great demand as a negotiation consultant for some of the largest multinationals operating worldwide. His wide experience gained in multinational organizations in positions such as Director of Training, Communications Consultant and Negotiator / Mediator has helped many people to learn and apply new methods of negotiating skills and advanced communication techniques both in their private and professional lives. He has published various articles & books related to the field of interpersonal communication and he is the author of all the courses taught by Brownlee & Associates. He has lived and worked in Spain since 1985, initially as a trainer / Special Assistant in a multinational pharmaceutical company and then as the Training Manager for a multinational company involved in Clinical Analysis & Nuclear Medicine. Brownlee & Associates was formed in 1991 and currently has a small, highly-trained staff. While based in Madrid, courses are given world-wide either in English or Spanish. Brownlee & Associates currently work with leading international companies in the areas of pharmaceuticals , Information systems, luxury products, food & beverages, etc.
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