I wandered, lonely as a cloud.

It  is a big step in a presenter’s development moving out from behind the lectern. It allows you to engage more effectively with the audience and will significantly improve both your p3 and p cubed value overall. It is not an easy step to take though but it is important that once you make the step, you then need to stop. Wandering lonely as a cloud is good for poets but not so good for speakers.

Standing behind a lectern “protects” you from the audience. Once a presenter recognises that the audience are not baying for your blood like the crowd at The Colosseum this gesture of openness brings reward. However, most nervous presenters then set off on a wander round and round the stage with no purpose other than to keep moving, away from the audience. There are better options.

Ask yourself why are you moving? The size of the stage and the auditorium will all affect this but my advice is to plan your route with a purpose. Effectively, your mobility allows you to move and physically engage with different sections of the audience. Random, cloud like, wandering gives the obvious impression that you don’t know where you are going and reflects on your message indirectly. It will also tire out both the speaker and the audience. Work the stage and the audience. Move to one section and stop. Stand feet apart, face the section and then speak. After a period of time, usually a defined segment of your talk, turn to another section, speak to them and then move over to them as you talk. When you reach them, stop, stand firm and complete that section of your talk.

Your movement should fit with the talk. In stage craft this is called choreography, planned movement. Like all aspects it should add, not distract from your delivery. Move to engage the audience. Move metaphorically and physically to a new segment of the piece. Move and stop. Make sure your opening and closing segments are delivered centre stage to the whole audience. Don’t just wander, like a cloud.

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