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Building Professional Presence

A. B. C. D.


Body Language. Eye Contact. Appropriate Language. Personal Destructors. Effective Use of Voice.

A. Body Language
1. 2.


Gestures. Facial Expressions. Postures. Movement.

A.1. Gestures
Gestures can help bring your presentation to life, impart your conviction (sincerity/assurance), channel nervousness in a positive direction, and convey confidence and enthusiasm.

Guidelines for gestures (signs, signals):

Use gestures to emphasize a point. Use gestures to direct attention and provide emphasis. Always complete a gesture once youve started it.

A.1. Gestures

Show audience youre pleased with whats going on or what have been said. Descriptive gestures are useful in describing properties of things: Size / Shape / Motion / Direction/ Experiment with a variety of gestures. Practice gestures in front of a mirror or videotape until you are comfortable with them. Remember that you can gesture with your head, arms, hands, or entire body.

A.2. Facial Expressions

Its more interesting to watch someone who has a range of facial expressions than someone who is stuck in one expression. Guidelines for facial expressions:

Begin the presentation with a relaxed, friendly expression. Vary your expressions to reflect the content of your meeting. Let your face show the delight, amusement, puzzlement, etc., you are feeling. Dont paste on a smile frequently. Dont be afraid to laugh.

A.3. Posture
Use your posture to project confidence. The audiences should be able to tell from the way you physically present yourself that you feel good about what youre saying. Guidelines for Posture (position, stance): * Maintain an erect but relaxed posture. * Keep your arms comfortably at your sides when not using them to gesture. * Avoid rocking, shifting, and staring at the ceiling. * when someone is speaking, make sure your body is fully directed to the speaker.

A.3. Posture (some guidelines for Posture )

* Alternative between sitting and standing.

* Lean forward to show interest and attention.

* Avoid crossing your arms or putting your hands in your pockets. * Avoid putting your hands on your hips or pointing at people. * If you tend to freeze up, place supplies where you have to move to get them. * Before starting your presentation, warm up and relax your body. * When audiences take a break, use the time to do something relaxing or energizing for yourself.

A.4. Movement
As a general rule, always move with a purpose.

Change your position in the room periodically. Dont plant yourself at the head of the table or room.

Vary the speed at which you move around the room.

Move toward participants to connect with them. Avoid pacing.

B. Eye Contact

Eye contact is a critical element of effective delivery. By making eye contact, you demonstrate your interest in, and concern for, the audiences.

Eye contact also enables you to assess the changing responses of the group. Nervousness can make it difficult for you to maintain eye contact.

B. Eye Contact
Guidelines for making eye contact:

When an audiences is speaking to you, maintain eye contact for at least five seconds. When you are talking, look at the participants. When you are answering an audience's question, look at the questioner, then establish eye contact with the rest of the group.

B. Eye Contact

Coordinate eye contact with movement at times; look and walk toward your audiences rather than just standing still.
Make sure that your eye contact with any individual or section of the group is neither too long nor too short. In general, maintain eye contact for only a few seconds before moving on to the next person or section of the group.

C. Appropriate Language

Its important to adapt your use of language to the circumstances of the audiences. Tailor words and references to their intelligence and academic, technical, and social backgrounds. Avoid overuse of technical terms and buzzwords. Effective use of Pause:
Pause for emphasis or dramatic effect. Pause and take a breath instead of using non words (um, okay, really, you know,etc.) Maintain eye contact when you do pause.

D. Personal Destructors

Empty your pockets before the presentation.

Put pens and markers away from you so you wont be tempted to play with their caps. Have nothing around except essential materials. Videotape yourself. Watch the tape to see mannerisms you may be unaware of having.

E. Effective Use of Voice

Fear and tension often manifest themselves in vocal problems that dont exist when youre in stress-free situation. Careful planning. Concentrate to enhance your voice.
1. Speed and pacing. 2. Volume. 3. Inflection.

E.1 Speed and Pacing

Vary your speed for dramatic effect.

Speed up to convey excitement. Slow down to add emphasis. Use natural pauses when presenting content to break the material into small, meaningful segments; it makes it easier to remember.

E.2 Volume
The size of the room and your distance from attendee will determine the volume you choose. Guidelines for effective use of volume:

Adjust your volume to the size of the room. Vary your volume for dramatic effect, but never get too loud or too soft. Concentrate on controlling your projection rather than controlling your volume.

E.3 Inflection

Vary your inflection for emphasis of critical information. Avoid adding inflection for its own sake. Make sure the tone in which you present concepts and respond to incorrect answers is not parental. Audiotape yourself.