Section 1.2

Presenting Is a Physical Activity

Your body is central to delivering your message. If you let your posture sag, the vitality of your ideas will also sag. If your leg is jiggling while you talk, or your hands are clenched, or your shoulders are tight, you will be wasting energy that could have been channeled more productively into your presentation.

In addition, movement that is not connected to what you are saying, such as pacing or fidgeting with your hands, can distract an audience and suggest a lack of confidence. That is not to say, however, that a presenter should not move. We all move when we speak, some of us more than others. Hand gestures, facial expressions, and other physical signals help us communicate our ideas. Allow your own personality and natural impulses to determine your physicality. The more genuine you are, the more engaging and effective you will be.

To prepare your body for its best performance, loosen it up and stretch it out. If possible, go to a restroom or other private area shortly before your presentation and do some preparatory exercises. The night before or morning of your presentation, you may want to try your favorite form of exercise — running, yoga, a game of basketball — as a way of helping you to relax.