When a leader is speaking, everyone else is listening…or at least that’s how it’s supposed to be. Whether you are in a team meeting, presenting in a boardroom, or delivering the conference keynote, you are the one that should be leading the conversation. If you want your audience to see you as a leader, you need to be aware of your executive presence. This will have a significant impact on the impressions you make and how you affect the people around you. From the way you stand to the way you use your voice when you speak, you need to be able to command attention when you are presenting. Consider the following approaches for commanding the stage like a leader.
Display Confidence and Control
Confidence is one of the most important attributes of a good presenter. That’s because people will be willing to listen to you and buy into your message if they see you are confident in front of an audience. If they see that you believe in yourself, they too will find you as a credible source. You can display confidence in the way you stand, for instance. Rather than slouching over a podium, stand with your back straight and your head held high. You can also convey confidence by speaking with inflection and speaking loud and clear. Finally, stay in control of your presentation by moving fluidly from one topic to another. Avoid awkward hand or body gestures as well as filler words like “um.” Try to remain poised and speak with a purpose.
Have a Strong Opening and Conclusion
The most important parts of your presentation are your opening and closing. If you start off strong, you have a better chance of succeeding. Capture your audience right from the start with a compelling opening that is interesting and engaging. At the conclusion of your presentation, be sure to reinforce your main points and the overall objective of the presentation. Think of your opening and closing like bookends that support the entire presentation.
Move Around the Stage
Your physical presence can greatly impact the way others perceive you. You will appear far more confident if you move around the stage when you speak as opposed to hiding behind a podium. Your presentation space is yours to command so move about with purpose and don’t be afraid to take center-stage.
Make Eye Contact
A leader conveys a sense of authority by looking people directly in the eyes. Eye contact is immensely important when giving a presentation because it allows the speaker to connect with the audience members individually. When someone makes eye contact with you, you are more likely to listen to what they say. Eye contact tells the audience that you are confident and it helps to engage them in the conversation.
Speak with Authority
Your voice is your most valuable tool when giving a presentation. Command the attention of your audience by speaking with authority. Always speak loud and clear and don’t be afraid to speak with conviction. You also want to use inflection to show emotion throughout your presentation. Take your audience on a journey with you and lead them with your voice.