Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pacing infinitely

In a November 20th post at about Public Speaking Mistakes to Avoid, Naomi Robbins observes that:

“I’ve been to a number of presentations where the speaker seems to draw an imaginary line on the floor and then walk back and forth on this line throughout the talk.....Recently I heard several speakers who followed a variation of this pattern. They traversed the imaginary line, stayed at the end and talked there for a short while, then talked while they walked to the other end of the line and talked there for a while, repeating this pattern until the talk was over.”

Last August, in post about Broadcasting Complete Confidence as a Speaker, Gary Genard describes this sort of nervous behavior as:

“....pacing back and forth like a caged animal (what I call ‘the motivational speaker syndrome’)”

People who are very nervous often just stand still behind a lectern and tightly grip its edges, like they are trying to steer a bus. Less nervous people pace around, and make the audience nervous.

In an often quoted passage from a poem J.R.R. Tolkien reminds us:

“Not all those who wander are lost;”

However, most are. Their presentation would be improved by purposeful movement. A Toastmasters International web page on gestures suggests:

“For example, walk to the other side of the stage as you move to a new topic or move toward the audience as you ask a question.” 

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