When you are selling from stage, it is really vital to understand that the audience is not just listening to what you say or watching your slides… they will also be observing you very closely.

Your image, your body language and stance will all be assessed before you even say your first word… so today I want to talk about all the subtle signs that you emit that will make or break your presentation.

Now, first impressions count… a lot. Within the first 30 seconds of setting eyes on you, the audience will decide how they feel about you. Get this part right and you’re already off to a flying start.

STage PerformerFirst impressions: image matters

Dress smartly… that means shirt and trousers for guys, smart tailoring for the ladies. Try your outfit on before the day of the event to make sure it does fit properly and allows room for movement. Don’t wear un-ironed clothes either… I’ve seen speakers on stage whose whole appearance looked dishevelled and it isn’t a good look!

Ladies… I’m afraid this is even more important for you. As women, society judges us harsher than the guys. If you’re not confident you know what suits you, perhaps invest in an image consultant who can style you so you know how to look and feel amazing. I worked with an image coach when I first started speaking and it made a huge difference.

A great outfit, tidy hair and polished shoes will always win over a mis-matched combination of clothes and scruffy shoes. Ladies don’t forget your make up too.

Body language

If you feel uncomfortable and unconfident on stage, your body language will reflect your feelings to the audience who WILL pick up on it.

Stage Performer Not ReadyStand up straight, look out confidently towards your audience and remember to SMILE. It might take a bit of practice… especially if you are nervous but a great smile will warm the audience towards you.

Eye contact is important too. Regularly make eye contact with people placed around the room. Making good eye contact for at least 60% of your time on stage will build the connection between you. Otherwise the stage can act as a huge divide between you and them and they won’t feel a part of your presentation.

If you’re selling from stage, you want your audience to be with you all the way through so when you make your no-brainer offer, they can’t help but to follow you to where you want to take them.

The importance of a neutral stance:

Stand still! I see many presenters walking around or waving their arms aimlessly, twiddling their hair, adjusting their clothing and all kinds of aimless activities. Please stand still.

Unless you are purposefully walking over to the side of the stage or moving forward to connect with your audience, stay in what I call the “Neutral Stance”

Keep your body straight… your shoulders back, hips aligned with your shoulders and the outside of your feet. Your legs should be straight and your feet slightly apart pointing forwards with your arms by your sides. If you do move to the side of the stage or go out into the audience, always return to this neutral stance on the stage.

I’m not inviting you to stand stock still for the whole 90 minutes or however long you are on stage… you should use your arms to make your point and you’ll want to walk over to your flip chart or walk over to the other side of the stage… but make sure every movement has a purpose.

If you don’t have a purpose to move… return to your neutral stance.

Remember, aimless actions will cost you sales as your audience will be far too distracted by what you are doing to listen to you.

In fact, let me demonstrate this to you… here is a 3 minute video I recorded a while back that will show you how distracting your aimless movements will be for your audience.. and you’ll be able to see how to get yourself into the neutral stance on stage too.

What do you think? Do you find yourself making aimless movements on stage? Have you ever been to a presentation where the speaker distracted you with their aimless movements? Please don’t name names but leave me a comment and share your thoughts.

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