Public Speaking: Move with Purpose!

Words represent your intellect. The sound, gesture and movement represent your feelings. Patricia Fripp

When you consider that the majority of communication is non-verbal, it is a wonder we expend so much energy and stress practicing to ensure our words are as perfect as possible. With 55% of the non-verbal message through body language, with more than 38% of the message as voice tone and quality, and with only 7% of the speech our carefully crafted words, it is no wonder public speaking is defined as Performance over Content.

In terms of body language and the harsh fact that most of the interpretation of the speaker is complete in the first 7 seconds, it is vital for the speaker to be perfectly comfortable. Standing still in the center of the stage is OK if you are a statue, but you are not.

You are an energetic individual, whose adrenaline is running at fully speed, whose nervous system is on overdrive, who has enough latent energy right now to power New York City, and you are supposed to look calm, even serene as you face your audience for the first time.

Be comfortable, be relaxed, be in control, but please move! Your movement should not be frenetic or fast or erratic, but calm, measured, smooth and purposeful. If you don’t move the audience does not have to pay attention, they can just listen to your voice. But as your presentation is primarily communicated by body language, tone and performance you need to be somewhat unpredictable, and to make sure the audience needs to be somewhat insecure and you can depend upon their rapt attention.

Movement generates what is called ‘Creative Tension’ in the audience. When you move they have to watch you or they will lose track of what is happening. If you want to really get their focused attention move into the audience as you speak. Move in between the tables, move to the back of the room, move between rows of seats, and move back to the stage.

Movement with confidence and authority, with poise and with purpose, and with gestures and appropriate pauses for effect and emphasis will put you in absolute control of the audience, the room and the presentation.

Movement also reduces your tension, it lowers your adrenaline, it keeps you on your toes, and it builds a more effective connection with every audience member.

A magician makes the visible invisible. A mime makes the invisible visible. Marcel Marceau

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