Guila Muir and Associates

They ARE Hearing Your Body Talk!

by Guila Muir

3 Pre­sen­ta­tion Posi­tions to Avoid Like the Plague

Hear your body talk“Change the way you hold your head and you change your image.” Phyl­lis Mindell

These 3 posi­tions may sab­o­tage even your best-designed messages.

Cocked Head
The cocked or tilted head gives a “is this accept­able?” sub­text. A cocked head denotes sub­mis­sion. This is not some­thing you want to por­tray as a speaker.

Sug­ges­tion: Hold your head as if a cord from the ceil­ing sus­pends it. Feel the length and the ver­ti­cal­ity of your neck. Look at the audi­ence “straight-on."

Much more famil­iar to many, the clas­sic “figleaf” posi­tion refers to hold­ing (fold­ing, clasp­ing) both hands for a length of time directly in front of the groin. How­ever, it's help­ful to think of “figleaf” as refer­ring to any hand posi­tion held before the body. This includes a range of posi­tions, from a splayed hand over the diaphragm, to casual hands held in front of the stom­ach, to arms folded across the chest.

Audi­ences most often inter­pret this pos­ture as being defen­sive: a sub­con­scious dis­play of the speaker’s fear and self-protection. (And, guess what? They are often right.)

Sug­ges­tion: Prac­tice dis­play­ing the entire front of your body to the audi­ence. If you hold notes, use only one hand, and do not allow that hand to stray in front of your body.

"Flamingo" involves rest­ing your weight on one hip, caus­ing it to jut out. Women most often take this pose, though I’ve seen men do it, too. If you want to look like a cheer­leader or an aspir­ing model, use the flamingo pose. Enough said?

Sug­ges­tion: Keep both feet flat on the ground, about 12 inches apart, fac­ing directly for­ward. If desired, bend the knees a tiny bit for a sense of elas­tic­ity and fluidity.

By avoid­ing the three posi­tions we’ve talked about here, your pre­sen­ta­tion will soar.

Read more arti­cles about Pre­sen­ta­tion Skills. Learn about Guila Muir’s Pre­sen­ta­tion Skills Workshops.

Guila Muir is the pre­miere trainer of train­ers, facil­i­ta­tors, and pre­sen­ters on the West Coast of the United States. Since 1994, she has helped thou­sands of pro­fes­sion­als improve their train­ing, facil­i­ta­tion, and pre­sen­ta­tion skills. Find out how she can help trans­form you from a bor­ing expert to a great pre­sen­ter:

© 2010 Guila Muir. All rights reserved.
You may make copies of this arti­cle and dis­trib­ute in any media so long as you change noth­ing, credit the author, and include this copy­right notice and web address.

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