How often do you observe a presenter pacing backwards and forwards during a presentation? Or dancing side to side? Swivelling on a heel or crossing and uncrossing one’s legs?
Perhaps you too are guilty?
And what is wrong with moving in a presentation? Surely standing in one spot is boring?
Firstly this depends on the length of the presentation. For short presentations, standing in one spot can actually do so much more for you! For longer presentations or bigger audiences, more movement is possible, provided it is with intent.
When the presenter is constantly moving, the audience struggles to focus, and if the movements are repetitive then we lose interest in the presenter. Standing firm and still is an indication of confidence. While one does not want to be rigid, we also need to be aware that mindless movement is only serving to make us feel better, but alienating and often annoying our audience.
The problem with pacing backwards and forwards – or even swaying for that matter – is that we are indicating our discomfort. And this is interpreted as more than discomfort by the audience on a subconscious level. What other creature paces backwards and forwards? A predator!
Just take a moment to think back to the last time you observed a big cat in a cage. The backwards and forwards pacing is typical of a predator, which is not how you want to be perceived by your audience! Ironically a movement that we exhibit when we are nervous, is interpreted to be threatening or arrogant.
And what is more, the constant motion is making it harder for people to focus on your message! Rather move to make a point, or in a long presentation to raise energy in the room.
Become conscious of your repetitive gestures and patterns of moving so that you can change them, and observe how your audience starts to respond to you with increased respect and attention.