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Public Speaking Training:

Stand Still

I see professional public speakers make this mistake all the time. They don't stand still when they are presenting. It is very distracting for the audience to try to listen and comprehend what someone is saying when they are constantly wandering all over the stage. You can practice being still while taking your public speaking training.

I have stated in previous public speaking training articles that you should move at least three steps, in a particular direction -- and for a purpose -- whenever you move on stage. That type of movement is completely different than what I am talking here. Small to and fro movements during your presentation is very distracting to your audience and takes away from your message.

As we move into a century that will start to include more distance learning and TV training, keeping still is even more important than ever before. When you are presenting to an audience and cameras are sending your message across the country or around the world make sure your not constantly moving around and keep your gestures smaller.

When you are on TV or video your movements are magnified. I got a good reminder of this lesson while doing the weather and traffic report for a news station in Orlando, Florida. They put me at an anchor desk and turned me loose with a set script on the teleprompter. I was all set to be my highly animated self. 

Well, needless to say my normal performance looked absolutely ridiculous on camera.

In fact, it wasn't even close to being acceptable for the tight shot they used. I had to stay perfectly still with the exception of my head and eye movement and facial expressions.

You can practice this at home with a simple video camera zoomed in to a tight close up shot. Either stand or sit and don't move your shoulders and arms at all. Talk to the camera and only allow movement from the neck up. To do an el cheapo simulation of a teleprompter, cellophane tape a script on to the bottom of the lens of the camcorder.

From your public speaking training you will learn to adapt to the stage you are on, live on stage or live on camera. Once you master this technique and can convey all your non-verbal information with only head movement and facial expression, and remember folks communicate with their eyes, and in a close up, so should you. You can add small amounts of body, arm and shoulder movement as the video shot gets wider. 


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