Again, a global tech event is watched by millions. Most were seasick within minutes.
Please watch just 2 minutes of Microsoft executive Terry Myerson’s presentation (2:40 in from start) from last week “Microsoft October 2016 Event (HD) Full | Windows 10, Surface Studio, Paint3D and MORE.” Any more than two minutes will make you reach for those seasick meds.
Why does TEDTALK have the red circle? To help speakers focus their movement to one place.
“Practice standing still, planted firmly in one spot on stage. Have a friend watch you and stop you from pacing back and forth or shifting your weight from leg to leg.” This is a direct quote from TEXx manual TEDx Speaker Guidelines.
I have coached countless presenters to stand in one place when delivering their corporate speeches. In my blog May 20, 2016 I observed the same monotones pacing from Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook, CEO of Apple in June 4, 2014.
Apparently these visionary executives don’t have someone advising them as the #AudienceAdvocate.
If they just watched two minutes of what the audience sees, the coaching will be clear.
Their predictable patterns distract from their message.
I am told these are the motivations for pacing:
- Connect with the entire audience
- Show that I am engaged
But these are the results:
- Audience distracted from the message – while you are pacing 3 or 4 steps to the left, then 3 or 4 steps back to the right, dozens of times per minute, you are sending the signal to the audience that you are not engaged.
- You are wasting energy that should be injected into your presentation. Yes, subconsciously you are squandering energy.
- Of course you usually have a few downstage monitors located below the front-row audience with either the script or prompt messages. But you don’t have to WALK TO EACH ONE mid sentence to show your agility.
- ·IMAG – If you are on the big screen for 80% of the live audience and 100% of the remote or delayed audience, they are seeing a close-up image of you and the background moving back and forth. Result – more distraction at the least – seasickness at the worst.
Here’s how to use all that energy from your waist up and allow the audience to focus on you, and the message:
“Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, slightly bend your knees and swivel from your hips with your hands out in front of you.” “On-The-Job Speech Training”
You will also be more effective. Once you start pacing, you become numb to the distraction and can’t stop. You don’t know it, but you are then distracting yourself and the audience from the message.
Put yourself in a group of 10 people, all standing. Do you walk to each of them during a 10 minute explanation? Of course not.
The Microsoft venue was small, compared to the Google and Apple event. But that should be all the more reason to stand and deliver.
Watch one minute of Miss Colorado in her “talent” presentation from the Miss America Pageant.
Notice she didn’t pace back and forth. She stood in what is called “down in 1” in the theater, and delivered her message.
Of course you can move about, but avoid predictable, repetitive motion, or you’ll lose your audience every time. Those watching video IMAG of you will be distracted by the graphics passing back-and-forth behind your head.
Practice with the idea there is glue under your shoes. You can’t move. Your audience will appreciate your effort.
For other tools for speaking success check out "On-The-Job Speech Training" on amazon.com. $3.98 for the eBook.