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3 Presentation Positions to Avoid Like the Plague

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“Change the way you hold your head and you change your image.” Phyllis Mindell

imagesThese 3 positions may sabotage even your best-designed messages.

Cocked Head
The cocked or tilted head gives a “is this acceptable?” subtext. A cocked head denotes submission. This is not something you want to portray as a speaker.

Suggestion: Hold your head as if a cord from the ceiling suspends it. Feel the length and the verticality of your neck. Look at the audience “straight-on.”

“Figleaf”
Much more familiar to many, the classic “figleaf” position refers to holding (folding, clasping) both hands for a length of time directly in front of the groin. However, it’s helpful to think of “figleaf” as referring to any hand position held before the body. This includes a range of positions, from a splayed hand over the diaphragm, to casual hands held in front of the stomach, to arms folded across the chest.

Audiences most often interpret this posture as being defensive: a subconscious display of the speaker’s fear and self-protection. (And, guess what? They are often right.)

Suggestion: Practice displaying the entire front of your body to the audience. If you hold notes, use only one hand, and do not allow that hand to stray in front of your body.

Flamingo
“Flamingo” involves resting your weight on one hip, causing it to jut out. Women most often take this pose, though I’ve seen men do it, too. If you want to look like a cheerleader or an aspiring model, use the flamingo pose. Enough said?

Suggestion: Keep both feet flat on the ground, about 12 inches apart, facing directly forward. If desired, bend the knees a tiny bit for a sense of elasticity and fluidity.

By avoiding the three positions we’ve talked about here, your presentation will soar.

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