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Poise, Power-stance, and Polish for Presenters

 

By Claudia W. Brogan

Once the design and writing have taken place in preparing a presentation, a good speaker continues to aim toward refining the speech and delivery. As the heart of a presentation is complete, then comes the time for a good presenter to add polish to preparations for a speech.

Three areas for finalizing and refinement will help add good finishing touches.

Poise

“The key to winning is poise under stress,” says Paul Brown. The more times a speaker has actually practiced saying the words aloud, the more that “muscle memory” will help once it comes time for delivery. Whether reading aloud to the mirror, or to a patient friend who’ll offer feedback, or to one’s cat who may or may not be much interested, practicing the presentation aloud helps it feel smooth and familiar for the speaker.

In other words, “Poise Happens.” Familiarity with the words themselves will help a speaker feel natural and calm. Arriving early in the room, seeing that the physical space and technical elements are working well, and greeting participants can all help a speaker feel confident and calm. Making sure that drinking water is on-hand, that audio and visuals are working, and that lighting works well can all help the speaker feel mentally ready to concentrate on delivering the message to this audience. Deep breaths in preparation and a calm, sturdy presence when beginning the first remarks will all help a speaker be poised and calm in the delivery.

Power-stance

Lincoln’s quote above is helpful not only ideologically, but physically as well. A good speaker assumes a strong, ready pose especially when claiming the space at the start for delivering a presentation. Before uttering a word, it’s a good idea to head to the center of the stage where you know you’ll be able to see all or most of the audience members. Planting one’s feet for a strong greeting is establishing one’s sturdy foundation.

An interesting article uses the image of “acting like a starfish.” Depending on the situation, this may be useful doing this outside the session before beginning, or perhaps even as the session begins. Standing in a position with feet spread out shoulders’ width apart and with one’s hands on waist and elbows out is like “standing like a starfish.” Standing in this way helps a speaker feel strong and ready and clear. This technique may be just what you need when polishing your own speaker-readiness.

Polish

To be our best as speakers, we are never really done learning and improving. Just like accomplished comedians who visit local comedy clubs incognito to practice their material, presenters are smart to look for frequent opportunities to keep honing their craft. Sometimes this arises when one volunteers to speak for local service organizations such as Rotary or Lion’s Club meetings or in one’s place of worship; other times a speaker might look for ways to practice delivering brief presentations at school association meetings or local government sessions.

Delivering presentations is a set of skills that are enhanced with frequent practice. In my own experience, I have found an excellent Toastmasters Club in my area which is dedicated to helping each speaker “keep bringing their ‘A’ game,” and where continual learning is a shared goal. This has become one of my favorite arenas for polishing and practicing my presentation skills among a cadre of professional speakers with high standards. With the hundreds of Toastmasters clubs in the U.S. and around the world, there is surely a nearby group where you can get a good supply of time, feedback, and support for polishing your own skills. If there is a Toastmasters Club near you, it’s well worth your time to join. I have found the professional support and inspiring speakers at Toastmasters to be invaluable in my own development as a speaker.

With poise, power-stance, and polish, each one of us can continue to find ways to enhance our skills and improve our abilities to deliver top-notch presentations.

 

Claudia Brogan is a speaker, trainer and facilitator who helps organizations by coaching presenters, leading collaborative meetings and problem-solving with groups and teams. Reach out to see how she can help you. Contact Claudia via email at claudiabrogan @ gmail.com, through LinkedIn, or by phone at 404-849-5182.

 

 

 

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