Sit … and Deliver?

Last month, our piece on presentation stance drew positive comments from readers. Good to know that its focus on standing clear, standing straight and standing still resonated with workplace presenters.

But other readers asked for some tips when delivering a more casual presentation while seated or in a virtual setting. So, here you are. Don’t thank me … it’s my pleasure.

Sit Smart

  • When delivering a more casual presentation to a small seated group in a conference room, try to sit smart. While the head of the typical rectangular table seems logical, the people at the other end of the table may feel disconnected. Where possible, sit in the middle of the long side, so people at both ends are the same distance away and closer.
  • When delivering a virtual presentation, you don’t have a choice. You must sit behind the computer. In these instances, sitting smart suggests making sure the camera on the desk top or lap top is as close to your seated eye level as possible. This avoids those lame shots where we see too much of the ceiling and not enough of you. Also make sure you’re sitting facing the window instead of having the strong light source behind you that can wash out the image.

Sit Still

  • Same logic applies to seated delivery. Swaying or rocking distracts the small audience and the magnified image really looks lame on a Zoom. If it helps, tighten the nobs on the chair so you can’t swivel or rock.
  • In a live setting, you can still effectively make sustained eye contact with everyone at the table. With virtual, you only have the camera to connect with. But, keep your notes very close to the camera without getting in the shot to avoid looking away too much.

Sit Straight

  • Avoid slouching in the chair. It projects too casual an image instead of one that is credible and confident. Be comfortable, but still look like you belong there.
  • You can still gesture effectively while seated. Just make sure your hands are above the table and clearly visible. Same goes for virtual. The angle of the shot is fairly narrow, so check that your hands are in the shot.

These best practices are easy to understand, but sometimes difficult to embrace and get comfortable with. So practice your seated live or virtual presentations. Try to record them if you can so you see what they see. Then, ask yourself – ‘Is this person someone I respect and trust?’ If you answered ‘yes’, chances are your audiences will too.

So, best wishes for success – go sit and deliver with power and confidence.