Connecting with Your Audience
To project a sense of confidence and authority, you have to be in touch with your own inner strength.
You can use this three-step process to connect with yourself and to connect with your audience. (You will also gain confidence and build rapport with your listeners.)
1. Ground Yourself.
Feel your feet on the ground. Distribute your weight evenly across an imaginary triangle on the bottom of your feet (the heel, the ball of your feet, and the outside pad beneath the little toe). When you are grounded, you will feel calm and centered, and you will project strength.
Consciously take two or three slow, deep breaths. Doing so will make you present to the moment and will reduce your anxiety (which usually has to do with the future).
3. Speak to One Person at a Time.
Don’t think of speaking to the entire audience all at once. You’ll freak yourself out. (And you won’t connect with anyone in particular, since you’re thinking about everyone in general.) Choose, instead, to look at one person at a time. Speak to that person as if you’re having a conversation. Then, shift your attention — and your eye contact — to another person.
Adapted from Be Heard Now! by Lee Glickstein, Broadway Books, 1999.
Chris Witt, a coach based in San Diego, works with executives and with technical experts who want to give more effective presentations.