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Lesson 4. Energy for Effectiveness > Use Vocal Energy for Power - Pg. 18

Energy for Effectiveness Tip 18 Remain the focus of attention. Effective gestures help ensure that your listeners will con- centrate on you throughout an entire presentation. You'll be too visually interesting for them to tune out and ignore. The next time you deliver a presentation, try the following approach to using gestures: 1. 2. Face the audience and plant your feet firmly and slightly apart. --Some speakers like to pace back and forth in front of their listeners. But the pacing rapidly becomes a distraction. Start with your arms at your sides. --This should be their resting position. From this position, it's easy to raise up your arms and gesture. If you lock your hands, they tend to stay there and never come apart. As you make an important point, use one or both hands for emphasis. --Don't repeat the same motion continually or you'll rapidly become boring. When you describe something, use your hands to create a visual image. --If employment figures are going up, for example, indicate this by raising an arm. If inflation is declining, show it by lowering your arm. Make your gestures as expansive as possible. --Don't look like you're addressing an audience from a phone booth. Enlarge your gestures and extend your arms. Don't worry, you won't look like a carnival barker. Don't try to plan your gestures. --A former U.S. president was told to improve his speaking style by using gestures. Unfortunately, they looked too planned and artificial, which only made his presentations worse. Most of us use gestures naturally in normal conversation. Apply the same principles when you stand up in front of a group. Tip 3. 4. 5. 6. Become aware of the way you use gestures in conversation. Most of us are pretty animated. You need even more animation when you speak to a group because it's larger and you must stimulate more people. 7. Move out of your comfort zone. --As you start using more gestures in a presentation, it will seem uncomfortable at first. You'll feel as if you're overdoing it. If possible, videotape yourself as you rehearse your presentation. You'll probably be surprised to discover that you weren't as animated as you thought and can use even more visual energy in your presentations. Humanize Presentations with Facial Expressions Recently I was on a flight from Houston and watched a sitcom on the television monitor without putting on the headphones. It was amazing to discover how much I could figure out about the story simply by watching the characters' gestures and facial expressions, their body language was so demonstrative. Good speakers use the same approach with their audiences. It's another way to humanize a pre- sentation and make a connection with your listeners. Show a human face. Look at your listeners, and don't be afraid to smile or grimace when you speak. Audiences generally like to know that there's a real person standing up there with real feelings that show up on your face. Use Vocal Energy for Power When you're speaking to another person, especially about a topic of great interest to you, your voice generally demonstrates that enthusiasm. However, many of us seem to believe that a different approach is necessary when we run a business meeting or deliver a formal presentation. Somehow these activities seem to call for a dry tone of voice that remains at the same level from start to finish.