Stand-Up Straight! Use Your Stance to Energize Your Presentation
When you are standing in one spot, do you “stand up straight,” or do you shift your weight onto one leg. When you’re seated, do you sit up straight or do you slump over in the chair? This isn’t just about being casual or formal:
By changing posture, subjective energy level can be decreased or increased. Thus the mind-body relationship is a two way street: mind to body and body to mind.
The straighter you stand or sit, the more direct line the energy has to come out of you.
I know what you’re thinking…“new age psycho-babble.” While on vacation years ago, I read an article (posted on the wall next to the Stairmaster I was on). It said that standing up straight consumes 8% more energy in your workout than when bent over at the waist. It works the same way when you’re speaking. And there’s been much more research since then.
In a paper sub-titled “How Body Postures Influence Your Energy Level,” Erik Peper and I-Mei Lin found that the mind is capable of affecting the body’s energy levels—and vice versa!
We’ve talked before about channeling presentation nervousness and performance anxiety into more productive energy for your presentation (see our video post on Nervousness: Use It or It Uses You). The more productive and positive energy you bring to your presentation helps in several ways. First, you get a boost while you’re presenting—when you can really use it. That boost makes you feel better and it also positively affects how you convey that content to your audience. Your audience also benefits from the extra energy you put into presenting. Audiences need all the help (and energy!) they can get to stay focused, attentive (and awake!) during your presentation. The energy we put out is contagious so, before you know it there's one big symbiotic flow of increasing positive energy. Okay, okay. Enough said—before we really do get into new age psycho-babble.
One other point here—if you’re not standing up straight, what do you do? We’ve trained thousands of people and watched them shift side-to-side, front-to-back or up and down on their toes. In moderation, no big deal; in excess, it’s distracting.
Feeling kinda blah? Stand up straight—it’ll make you feel awesome. No, seriously.
I hope I’ve encouraged you to be mindful of your stance when you present. Next, I’ll highlight a few key points about using Hands and Gestures effectively when you present. Hands and Gestures is the third visual delivery skill—it’s up next.
Visual delivery skills posts in this series: