NEVER touch the Lectern

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NEVER touch the Lectern

It’s time for your big presentation. You’ve been preparing for weeks. You’ve gone through four revisions of your PowerPoint, rehearsed endlessly in the shower, and picked out your best power suit. You’re ready. Or so you think. When you give your presentation, will the audience receive your message as intended? Have you included scrutinizing your body language in your preparation? It’s a known fact that In addition to the words you speak and the supporting images on the screen, your body is also sending a message.

Good body language is incredibly important in how your overall presentation is received. A great speech can fall flat by losing the audience attention if the speaker is motionless and dull. Conversely, a mediocre speech can be well received when an enigmatic speaker presents it.

The Talented Ladies Club ( offers 5 body language tips to enhance your presentation. Some of the tips are:

  • 1. Stand up straight and face the audience as much as possible.
  • 2. Use hand gestures for emphasis, especially when using audio visual aids.
  • 3. Eye Contact. Make eye contact with your audience, especially when addressing a question.
  • 4. Move around the stage. It makes your presentation more dynamic. Engage!
  • 5. Facial Expressions. Smile!!

Avoid these “fails” when talking on stage. The 2014 Toastmasters International world champion of public speaking, Dananjaya Hettiarachchi expands on these four points in her video  “4 essential body language tips from a world champion public speaker” . The video shows simple ways to open up to your audience and feel more comfortable on stage.

  • 1. Don’t cross your arms across your chest. This is a well-known defensive move that protects your vital organs from attack.
  • 2. Don’t continually show the audience the back of your hands. This is considered an insult in some cultures. We instinctively feel people are hiding something when we can’t see their palms.
  • 3. Don’t show up just in time to take the stage. Instead, show up in plenty of time to learn the lay of the land before you go on stage.
  • 4. Don’t touch the lectern!! Lecterns are a crutch. You’ll fidget with them, then grab, and even lean on them often for the duration of your presentation.

Let’s talk more about the ever-present lectern. Have you ever watched a speech where the speaker is clutching the lectern like they were holding on for dear life?  Did it make you, the audience, feel comfortable? Probably not. Remember, you are not limited or boxed in by a lectern. Use the lectern correctly, and you’ll find it to be a useful presentation tool that can focus your message.

Own the stage. Follow Albert Mehrabian’s rule of 7%-38%-55%. His rule states that the audience will remember your presentation based on the fact that words convey only 7% of the meaning, vocal expressions make up 38% and body language, coming in the highest, at 55%. The stage is yours for the duration of your presentation.

Follow the tips above and have some fun with your audio visual presentation!