While doing a particularly challenging underwater exercise, my swim aerobics instructor, Maria, suddenly shouted: â€œDonâ€™t leave your body unattended!â€
When youâ€™re in the midst of a speech or a presentation, itâ€™s easy to get lost in the moment, to figuratively lose connection with your body. You put all of your mental energy into conveying your ideas and trying to engage the audience.
What can happen if youâ€™re not careful is that you start to look like a talking head instead of a total person. Think of the bobble dolls. Is that the impression you want to make?
Instead, if you follow Mariaâ€™s wise words about not leaving â€œyour body unattended,â€ you can maintain more control over what your heart, hands, and mouth may actually be doing while youâ€™re speaking.
What can you do to stay in charge of your own body? Consider the F-O-C-U-S acronym I have developed for speaker body care:
F â€“ Find a friendly face right away in the audience or board room and selfishly bask in the vibes. Canâ€™t find one? Conjure up the face of your Mother, best friend, or significant other and imagine that person is cheering you on.
O â€“ Open up your lungs by remembering to breathe in with your stomach out and exhale bringing your stomach in, yoga style. Forgetting to breathe when weâ€™re anxious is normal but not especially helpful when youâ€™re a speaker! Your voice will sound breathless and uncertain.
C â€“ Create value for those listening. You will feel better about your speaking experience when you know that youâ€™re providing content that is meaningful and relevant. Donâ€™t skimp on examples, success stories and other ways to help your audience get the most from sharing your expertise with them.
U â€“ Urge participation! Plan specific places where you are asking for a show of hands or otherwise inviting people to stand and respond to your question. Or, build in places where attendees can interact with those near them about the topic youâ€™re presenting. Remember, many people love to be a part of the show, and theyâ€™ll love you more when you help make that possible!
S â€“ Smile inside and outside. Even if you donâ€™t feel like smiling, the deliberate raising of the corners of your mouth will hasten a relaxed, good feeling. Itâ€™s not logical, but it works!
If you havenâ€™t yet downloaded my new E-book, Get the Yes Start-Up Kit, I encourage you to click here and get yours free while this offer lasts! Also, my new E-course, Your Success Kit for Public Speaking, with the 240-page Workbook and nine videos is now available on our website for an introductory price. Nowâ€™s the time to get your presentations ready for the busy Fall season ahead!