I recently read an article that inspired me to experiment. It was in the The Toastmaster Magazine, a publication that comes complementary with membership. I generally read it cover to cover because each issue has awesome tools that I use to boost my communication and leadership skills.
The bit that caught my eye was a suggestion to stand in a different part of the room for different parts of a presentation. I decided to do this during my next speech because. so far in my speaking practice, I haven’t strategically used the speaking area (or stage) and I was inspired to explore this approach.
Here was my plan of attack:
- Script it. The first thing I decided to do is to write movement cues right into my speaking script. I brainstormed a few different way to do. I could draw a map of the speaking area with an X where I would speak during that section. I could have drawn an arrow prompting me to move in a particular direction for that next part of the speech. Or, I could have added a narrative prompt such as:
“<<Move to the right side of stage.>>.”
I chose the latter because it was the most explicit and easiest to include.
- Prepare it. Since I often don’t glance at my script/notes unless I really need them, I often forget them at my seat. Therefore, I realized that I needed another tool to help me remember to use this strategic movement approach. Putting a roll of masking tape in my presentation bag is what I decided.The tape prompted me to prepare my speaking area when I arrived at the meeting venue by placing tape on the floor in the three places I wanted to move to and speak from.
- Do it. No rocket science with this step. I wanted to remember to follow-through with my plan under the hot stage lights of real life, which can be easier said than done when delivering new material for the first time.
- Measure it. The last step is to ask my self a few key questions, such as:
- “Was my technique noticed?”
- “Was it effective?”
- “Was it worth the effort?”
- “Should I do it again?”
The audience did notice my strategic movement and folks thought it solidly emphasized the transitions between my main points. It wasn’t much effort because I was well rehearsed; therefore, I had lots of “on-stage” brain-cells to devote to implementing this technique.
A few tricky items were that some people found it momentarily distracting when I walked in front of the projector screen to move to my next speaking location and one person mentioned that their view of the screen was obstructed by my body during one of my spots. If I try this technique again with a slide show again, I will add more preparation time because each speaking location will need to be tested for audience sight-lines.
Bringing it together, I plan to fiddle with this technique a few more times to be fully comfortable with it. I hope you consider it for your next presentation.
What do you think should be paid attention to with this presentation technique?