O'Reilly logo

How to Give a Pretty Good Presentation: A Speaking Survival Guide for the Rest of Us by T. J. Walker

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 11. Stage Presence

How Should I Use the Stage?

SHOULD I WALK OUT INTO THE AUDIENCE?

If you want to become a professional motivational speaker and create a true theatrical experience for your audience every time you speak, then you may wish to hire a small army of acting, voice, and dance coaches to choreograph your every move on the platform. But if you just want to give a pretty good presentation, you can forget all of that nonsense. Instead, just focus on doing one thing: move.

I know that sounds simple, and almost overly simplistic. But most awful presenters and mediocre speakers freeze up. They stand behind a lectern and lean on it as if it were a life preserver. They hold their hands in the fig leaf position or the military position, or they put them in their pockets (doing who knows what!).

All you have to do to distinguish yourself from the pack of awful speakers is to move around a little. It's basically walking and talking; something you have done since you were in kindergarten. I know that giving presentations probably isn't your idea of fun; it fact, it makes most people a little uncomfortable. And because of that, your natural inclination is to freeze like a rabbit trying to blend into the weeds.

Unfortunately, you won't blend in this way. So I want to make it really easy for you. Don't worry about making big, sweeping gestures with your arms. Forget about getting down on one knee to act out some drama in your life. Instead, imagine yourself in a three-by-three-foot ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required