Something that I've noticed when people give presentations to smaller groups, e.g. in a small room or when everybody sits around the same table, is that the speaker is sitting down during their talk. While this may be suitable for some situations, I'd argue that most of the time, the speaker should be standing up, even in a more "cozy" setting.
Doing your presentation standing up will automatically result in a more engaging talk. For example, a rehearsal video that one of our speakers for one of our TEDxStuttgart sent us only showed the slides for the talk. We could only hear him speak but we couldn't see him in the video. One of my colleagues pointed out that the talk seemed to lack enthusiasm, even though we knew that the speaker was in fact very enthusiastic about his topic. As it turned out, the speaker was sitting at his laptop during this recording. At the event, when he did the talk up on the stage, standing up and not hiding behind a laptop, he was much more enthusiastic and energetic, as we expected him to be,
When sitting down, people often tend to assume a very comfortable position - crossing their legs, slumping in their seat, even tilting their chair. While this may help to make the speaker feel more comfortable (and possibly reduce their nervousness), it can come across as not taking the presentation seriously. Surely, that's an impression you want to avoid.
Standing up during your presentation obviously influences your body posture and, as a result, your voice. You also have your hands free to gesticulate and you can move around, e.g. to get closer to your audience for important points.
So, always stand up during your presentation to leave a better impression.
(Photo: 2.5.12 by Danielle Buma, from Flickr)
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