[Image by Andrew Martin of Pixabay]
We’ve all seen it before and maybe even done it before. What I’m referring to is the speaker who moves frenetically or paces without even knowing it. While there’s immense value to movement it does require that the speaker moves in a meaningful manner or with purpose. Let me give you some examples of what I’m discussing.
Value of meaningful movement:
- Helps the speaker get rid of excess energy that may be bottled up.
- Increases the speaker’s ability to relax and remain focused.
- Adds interest to the content of what the speaker is saying.
- Assists the audience in understanding and retaining information they’re hearing.
Movement that isn’t meaningful:
- Demonstrates power. One way to do this is for the speaker to stand in a central location when introducing new information. The speaker has greater command in this manner.
- Emphasis. If the speaker wants to underscore a particular aspect of content, he may move closer to the audience and when he concludes that portion, he may step back or away from the listeners.
- Positive vs. Negative. The speaker may use an approach of pros vs. cons. If so, the speaker can consistently stand to one side when delivering the positive and then shift to the other side when delivering the negative.
- Chronology. If the speaker is discussing content that uses the concept of a timeline, the speaker may position herself in the past, then move slightly to show current and finally move again to indicate the future. Be clear that your movement is from the perspective of the audience vs. your frame of reference.
- Storytelling. If the speaker is using a story to illustrate a point, the speaker may use a certain location for the characters in the story. This requires that the speaker moves to a designated place as that new “character” is introduced. By doing so, it will assist the audience in recalling the story.
- Visual Aids: Whether the speaker is using slides, a flipchart, or a whiteboard, it’s imperative to place the visual aid to the side of the speaker and avoid having to cross over it to get to the visual (e.g., stepping in front of the projector’s light). Preferably, the visual aid should be on the speaker’s dominant side to minimize unnecessary movement.
There are multiple ways to use movement to enhance what you’re saying to a group. My advice is to practice so it feels natural. If I may help you, please contact me by phone at 518-664-6004.