“Oh, it didn’t go so well. The lectern was stuck on the side and they didn’t have a lapel mike for me because the previous speaker finished late“.
I have heard this 1000 times and I have to say one thing. You are in more control than you think.
“Please could we move the lectern” is a phrase you will hear me say in the break over and over and if there are only enough lapel mikes for the panel after I have spoken, then I suggest they get on off one of those panel members and pass it over right now!
It’s not that hard. You just have to know that you have more control than you think you have and you don’t need to accept what is given.
And of course, this advice goes beyond an actual stage. It applies to any meeting in any space. You don’t have to be on an actual stage, but by stage, I mean the space in which you present your ideas and, every day of my life I am challenged by the appalling setups in organisations.
One coachee this week, let’s call him David, told me how no one listens to his presentation. We worked on what was said and how, but we also worked on ‘where’. The issue was that he was placed at the side down the end of a long boardroom table with his back facing to the entrance right behind him and everything about this position says ‘weakness’. You are going to have to manage it.
Recently, I did a presentation in Sydney and it was set in an old theatre with the projection coming from the audience. What this meant was that, because we were using Powerpoint and needed some projection, literally the whole stage was covered in the light projection and useless. The other speaker stood beside the stage curtain in the dark, but I used two techniques:
1. I blacked out the screen
2. I got off the stage and walked to the floor.
The Ancient Romans
The Ancient Romans and Greeks did not present indoors. There were not enough props and points of interest! They knew where they could be heard and they worked it.
Look at the picture above. They are front and centre and they are standing with arms outstretched. This may be pushing the point for what you want to do, but you still need to think about it.
It doesn’t throw me any more. You just judge the situation and act, but it does throw many. Here are some tips:
You CAN stand up
You CAN move
You CAN have the lectern moved if it is in your way
Check where the lights are and know to be in the light, but not to walk through a light with a projection
If you need a mic, get a lapel mic. Seriously if they say there are not enough, make someone else go without. You need your sound and you need to move to make a sound.
The old ‘Whiteboard trick’
And here is my favourite trick of all. If you are in a weak place psychologically in the room and you want to gain presence by standing and moving, use ‘the old whiteboard technique’ (to be said in the voice of Maxwell Smart from Get Smart).
What this means is to jump up and say you would like to draw something on the whiteboard’. Jump up and move to where you want to go and then say “Don’t worry, I think we can do it without the whiteboard”. Now you are in the right position. It works. Try it!
Let me know your thoughts…
Have the presence for presentations, media, meetings and difficult situations. Feel and be more confident, open and authentic, knowing the hidden secrets to your body and voice.
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