Continuing the 8-quickly applied tips using the acronym D.E.L.I.V.E.R.Y. to improve public speaking skills, here’s R in delivery = 'Release movement', part 2, specifically focusing on podium use.
The podium communicates authority. The podium is expert-zone, and a speaker can non-verbally use its authority to reinforce their own. Consider that the individual standing at the podium has been pre-vetted, approved, invited and has permission to be on the stage.
Since the podium communicates “expertise”, a smart speaker intentionally combines this non-verbal message support their personal credibility. I believe a speaker should not move away from the podium until after sharing their Credibility Statement, briefly presenting a couple sentences about your background and expertise (covered more in my introduction instructions article). I teach speakers to remain at the podium throughout their ‘credibility statement' in order to use the podium’s authority to support your own. You become the authority speaking from the ultimate expert position.
Correctly using the podium matters too.
1). Stand STILL. Contrary to the movement I've recommended in R=release energy article, moving behind the podium is NOT the recommended. Moving behind the podium will usually appear nervous and shifting because the movement is too small.
2). Set your hands on top-sides and bend elbows slightly, which will cause you to appear comfortable and relaxed. Positioning your hands on the podium’s top-sides will also help you hide shaking hands.
3). Gestures should be lifted up to the ‘box’. Don’t move your hands at the podium surface because this will appear as nervous. Lift your hands to your shoulder level to appear bigger and keep your gestures around the face, which is where the audience is looking (covered more in D for Distractions in DELIVERY).
4). Move away from the podium occasionally. You will need periods when you are able to walk away from your notes, demonstrating you know your content. Develop places in your speech where you can step away from notes completely.
Here’s additional instructions on how to move away from the podium:
- Step away intentionally from the podium
- How far away from the podium? Step at least an arm's length away.
- Let go of the podium and move away from it, allowing your hands to fall at your sides or lift to gesture (see the D for Distractions article for gestures advice).
- Let go of the podium. Sometimes inexperienced speakers hold-onto the podium or stay close to it and I joking call this "dancing with the podium' as if the podium is a dance partner and they have to stay connected.
5). Make eye contact with the audience. Hide your note use when you move away and do not look back. Once you move away from the podium, ignore the podium until you move back. In fact, turn your back to it and completely face the audience and talk to them. IF you look back to the notes, it will appear you can't deliver without them and your confident-look disappears. See the E for Eye Contact article for advice.
CONCLUSION: Overall a person who is animated on stage is more interesting than someone who never moves. A moving and animated speaker keeps the audience's attention because you are changing something. One who stands confidently at the podium uses that inanimate objects’ non-verbal authority wisely. Animated movement creates the impressions of a competent and engaging speaker.
I look forward to hearing how this content helped you. Feel free to reach out to me with your ideas or accessing my public speaking training. The next article is the final D.E.L.I.V.E.R.Y., 8th part of the series. The entire D.E.L.I.V.E.R.Y. series can be found at www.SageForwardTraining.com. Michelle Moore Brady is available to train your group!