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.
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