You can learn from this comedian presentation technique

 In Body language, Owning space

Comedians say that ‘Distance is death’. What this means is that if a comedian is physically, too far away from the audience he/she will ‘die’ (ie. Not get any laughs). What does this have to do with delivering your sales presentations and spoken messages? Simply this. In any interaction be aware of the physical distance between yourself and the audience, even if you’re only interacting with one person.

Here are two examples of being aware of the physical distance between yourself and an audience. 1. In delivering a stand-up presentation/message in front of a board table, stand close to the board table but don’t touch the table. In general, stand with your feet ‘planted’ on the floor at shoulder-width.

In my speech communication and sales presentation work, some clients will lean their legs against the table. People report this leaning gives them a supportive crutch to help them deliver their message. However, from the audience’s perspective, this leaning conveys a lack of certainty and confidence (ie. That the speaker can’t deliver his message without the support of the table).

Other speakers stand too far away from the table. From the audience’s perspective this standing too far away also conveys a lack of certainty and confidence. (ie. That the speaker doesn’t want to get too close to the audience because of fear or nervousness).

2. In a large presentation setting where you are on a stage or platform, at some time during the presentation, step down off the stage and get physically close to the audience in the front row. This creates a ‘physical connection’ and doing this will help you and your message come across with more impact. (After sharing a brief message from the floor of the room, go back up on the stage so that everyone can clearly see you.)

The ‘how to apply’ for this post: Reflect on the physical space and distance you and others maintain during interactions and presentations. Reflect on what distances create or don’t create the perceptions of energy and certainty. In your interactions and presentations, aim to keep a not too close/not too far away distance between you and the other person(s).

p.s. I’ll be a participant in a one day programme entitled, The Neuroscience of creativity: Separating myth from fact, on 19 August, offered by the University of Sydney’s Centre for Continuing Education. If you want to be more creative this course might interest. I’d love to have you join me on the day. Here is the link to the course: http://www.cce.usyd.edu.au/course/NCSM

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