A highly skilled conductor can be spellbinding, at the same time projecting a sense of stately control. Audience and orchestra alike hang onto a good conductor’s every move.
Yet, the other night I attended a concert where the conductor, also an accomplished pianist, captured our attention but for all the wrong reasons. His every move made me — and other audience members I spoke with after the concert — feel somewhat dismayed. I’m afraid to say that his tiny swirling hand gestures and jerky way of moving while conducting reminded me of a chicken. Yes, a chicken. He seemed to lack that sense of stately control, that presence I so often see in the many conductors at the concerts I regularly attend. In fact, I actually closed my eyes so watching him wouldn’t detract from my enjoyment of the music.
I came away from the concert shaking my head, thinking, “This is one conductor who should stick to his day job,” and just keep playing the piano. Either that, or develop his skill as a conductor: practice more, watch himself on video, and perhaps seek a coach. If he was going to take control and “own the podium” as a conductor, he needed some serious work.
This experience got me thinking that the same is true for people who want to excel at business presentations. Whether it’s giving a speech, presenting to a new client, or delivering a successful sales pitch, you need to hone your skills if you want to command attention. And you’ll need to pay close attention to these basic non-verbal body language traits, outlined in the points that follow.
Six Tips to Help You Command the Room:
- Stand tall, with shoulders back
- Act confident, even if nervous
- Breathe deeply and slowly
- Relax facial muscles, and smile
- Look up and out, not at the floor or the ceiling
- Make movements purposeful; avoid sudden awkward gestures
Starting with these six simple tips will help you take control and appear confident, even if you’re not. If you want to be that spellbinding conductor who owns the podium, you’ll need to tell yourself “I can do this.” Even if it means “faking it ‘til you make it.”
For more ideas about being a good presenter, take a look at the website, Mind Tools. And if you’re feeling anxious about presenting, think of it this way, good presenters are not born any more than good conductors naturally know how to lead an orchestra. We all have the ability to step up to the podium and have the audience give us their full attention. We just need to learn how to achieve that result, and how to believe in ourselves.