As a Speaker coach at various TEDx events and innovation awards, I spend a majority of time on the story that speakers want to tell about an idea, product, or initiative. As we all know, preparing a presentation is one thing, and giving it is something else entirely. And once the storyline is crafted, it requires to be delivered, and the performance takes the spotlight.
Many successful CXO leaders whom I coach are great at preparing presentations for conferences, town halls, and keynotes—collecting and organizing data, creating visually engaging slides, crafting a powerful narrative—but they often find that all of this is for naught when it comes time to stand before their audience and deliver on the promise they’ve so carefully developed.
How many times have you watched a presentation about something that you knew you should be interested in, but instead you found yourself bored or inattentive? How many times have you observed a business leader present about something that you thought would be utterly uninteresting, yet you find yourself drawn in and fascinated? The difference isn’t the topic or the idea; it’s the presence of the person standing in front of you.
Executive presence is the key feature that separates great speakers from the so-so and the “just fine” presentations that we’ve all seen and delivered. It is your stage presence, a way of owning a space and making it yours that inspires your audience.
Yes, preparation and the content of your speech are certainly important, but it is your stage presence that helps you succeed in getting buy-ins from the audience. While a select few seem to have a ‘natural’ ability to activate this kind of presence in the company of others, for most people, it takes a lot of science and coaching to develop it.
Stage presence includes many scientific elements like- body language, verbal delivery, credibility, trust building, and likeability quotient. Since there are far too many mechanisms of a masterful stage presence to share in a short blog, let me offer just one tip that will help you be a star speaker and command an audience in your very next presentation.
Imagine an eagle with outstretched wings: Your power zone is essentially your wingspan. It is the space you occupy from finger tip to finger tip with your arms stretched out to your sides, and it is the front of your body from your eyes to your navel. Mindfully use your entire power zone to be aware of your posture, your stance, and your body position. This will, in turn, give energy to your gestures and confidence to your stage movement.
Employing your power zone also ensures that your body language engages and excites your audience, keeping them tuned in and converting them from just bodies in seats to believers, supporters, and sponsors.
Keep in mind that each person’s power zone is unique to their body type. For instance, as a woman leader of average height with long arms, while making a business presentation it’s especially important for her to pay attention to her hand gestures, keeping her hands above her navel and using her arms to gesture expansively to the sides of her body. Remember it’s not the size of your body that defines your power zone but the mindful claim of all the space within your power zone that will leave the audience impressed and inspired.
To further develop your power zone, watch great TED speakers and observe what they do, practice and watch yourself in a mirror, and note how you can incorporate what you find compelling in others into your own performance.
Summary: Executive presentation is about commanding attention and conveying confidence using your presence. It is your presence that helps you make your content shine and influence your listeners.
Comments: Have you ever tried or observed other star leaders display any influencing tool to make the executive presentation stand out? Share your thoughts in the comments section. I love learning from my readers. And please do share this learning.