CHAPTER 4 Stand Up and Stand Out Making the Most of Your Body Language

One of the most public ways to share your message with the world is by speaking to a large group of people. In a professional setting, people will often hesitate to admit weaknesses, with one glaring exception. Most people are actually assertive in stating that they are afraid of “public speaking.” I think they offer this admission as a pre-emptive strike to keep others from asking them to give a presentation. Here’s the reality. Except for singing in the shower, all speaking is “public” speaking. We’re always talking to someone. And most people are okay speaking to one person at a time. Therefore, the secret is to apply the same techniques you use when talking to one person to situations in which you are talking to a few, a dozen, or a hundred people at once.

We receive calls every day from clients and potential clients saying they need help with “presentation skills.” My first response is always: “Help me understand what you mean by presenting.” Pharmaceutical salespeople “present” while walking behind a doctor who is between appointments. Analysts at investment banks “present” to a dozen or so salespeople in a room, while hundreds listen in on the phone. Litigators “present” in some no-man’s-land between the judge and the jury. Senior leaders “present” while seated around a boardroom table. And we all have instances when we present one-on-one, discussing a need with a client, giving a performance review, ...

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