Public Speaking Coaching Tip: Don't Hide Behind the Podium in a Dark Room

by Gilda Bonanno LLC
One of my clients comes out of the equity research in finance and is now an author on a book tour. He posted a video on a private YouTube channel of him giving a talk and asked for my feedback.

One of the things that I immediately noticed was that the lights were dim and he stood hunched behind the podium making eye contact with the big screen rather than the audience

I suggested that instead of focusing on the screen, the focus should be on him as the speaker.    So he needs to set up the room, lighting and slides so that everyone can see him clearly.  And if possible, he should step out from behind the podium or at the very least, make eye contact with people in the audience.   Once he made those changes, his presentation improved dramatically.   (This is why video is so powerful because it gives you that opportunity to see how you might come across to your audience.)

These are mistake that I see frequently.  Speakers tend to hide behind a desk or podium with the focus is on the screen.  This is really the opposite of what should occur. The focus should be on you as the speaker. You are the presentation; the slides are just the visual aids. The lighting should be set up so he focus is on you rather than everybody sitting in a dark room looking at slides.

While it is possible to speak effectively using a podium, for example, to put your notes on, you have to be aware of how the setup looks to the audience.  Think about it from their point of view.  If you use the podium, don’t let it become an obstacle to your connecting with audience.



Gilda Bonanno offers presentation skills coaching in person or virtually over the phone or using Skype.  She will help you prepare an upcoming presentation or review a past presentation that you have on video.
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