Public speaking can be nerve-wracking for most people. It's not just about your words but how you say them. Delivering a powerful presentation requires confidence, engagement, and impact. Most importantly, you need to make sure that your message lands. But how can you ensure that you're getting your point across? One trick is to move on stage in a W shape pattern.
Several years ago, I learned from my mentor that your speaking, gestures, and movement on stage can help drive a point across.
Previously, I stayed either anchored behind a podium or would stand statically on stage until my mentor pointed this out. That's when the power of the W-shaped pattern was introduced to me, and my public speaking skills transformed, allowing me to be a normal speaker to become a keynote speaker. Most people forget that public speaking is speaking and connecting with your audience, which is done with movement and gestures.
In this blog post, we'll explore how you can move forward and backward to elevate your presentation skills.
Here are my 6 points to help you deliver the perfect W presentation.
- The W shape: The technique you can use to command your audience's attention is creating a W shape with your movements on stage. To do this, you start in the middle of the stage, then move forward towards the audience, back towards the center, then towards the other side, back to the center, and finally forward again. This creates a natural rhythm that captures the audience's attention and makes your points stand out. It also creates anticipation for what you are going to say next.
- Eye Contact: Eye contact is crucial when giving a presentation. It shows that you're engaged with your audience and you're confident in what you're saying. Moving in a W shape helps you maintain eye contact with different audience members. When you move towards one side of the room, look at that section while you're delivering your message. Then, when you move to the other side, make eye contact with people there. This helps to connect with your audience on a personal level.
- Body language matters: Gestures and body language can make or break a presentation. They convey emotion, intention, and emphasis. Use hand gestures to punctuate your points when you move forward and backward. For example, as you move toward the audience, you can raise your hands to indicate an important point. Then, as you move back to the center, you can bring your hands in front of you to show that you're pausing for breath before moving to the next point. When you move to the other side of the room, you can use a different hand gesture to drive home your message.
- Practice makes perfect: As with any technique, practice is key to mastering the W shape movement. You should rehearse your presentation using the W shape pattern until it becomes natural. It may feel awkward initially, but with enough practice, you'll find it becomes second nature. This will help you focus less on where you're moving and more on the message you're delivering. It will also help you to feel more confident.
- Timing: Once you get comfortable moving around the stage, you can combine your movements with the timing of your presentation. I find that coordinating your movements forward with driving specific points in your presentation helps the point land better with the audience. When discussing details or between points, you should move back toward the center of the stage in preparation to deliver the next point.
- Be yourself: Finally, while the W shape technique can help you to project confidence and deliver your message effectively, it's important to be yourself. Don't fake gestures or movements that feel uncomfortable or unnatural. Instead, use the W-shape to enhance your natural speaking style and elevate your presentation. You want to present a confident version of yourself that inspires trust and credibility.
I've successfully used the steps above to present workshops, international conferences, training, and keynotes from small groups of people to thousands. The W shape technique is not new but has helped me tremendously and, more importantly, helped my different audiences connect with me and my topics during the presentation.
W is for Win for your next presentation!
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