How can you make your platform presence felt?
1. According to experiments conducted by the Carnegie Institute of Technology, personality has more to do with business success than has superior knowledge. This pronouncement is as true of speaking as of business. Personality, however, is such an intangible. elusive, mysterious thing that it is almost impossible to give directions for developing.
2. Don’t speak when you are tired. Rest, recuperate, store up a reserve of energy.
3. Eat sparingly before you speak.
4. Do nothing to dull your energy. It is magnetic. People cluster around the energetic speaker like wild geese around a field of autumn wheat.
5. Dress neatly, attractively. The consciousness of being well dressed heightens one’s self-respect, increases self-confidence. If a speaker has baggy trousers, unkempt shoes, ungroomed hair, fountain pen and pencils peeping out of his coat pocket, or a bulging ugly handbag, the audience is liable to feel as little respect for the person as he seems to feel for himself.
6. Smile. Come before your hearers with an attitude that seems to say you are glad to be there. “Like begets like,” says Professor Overstreet. “If we are interested in our audience there is every likelihood that our audience will be interested in us. Even before we speak, very often, we are condemned or approved. There is every reason, therefore, that we should make certain that our attitude is such as to elicit a warm response.”
7. Crowd your audience together. No group is easily influenced when it is scattered. An individual, as a member of a compact audience. will laugh at, applaud and approve things that he might question and oppose if he were addressed singly or if he were one of a group scattered through a large room.
8. If you are speaking to a small group, pack them in a small room. Don’t stand on a platform. Get down on the same level with them. Make your talk intimate, informal, conversational.
9. Keep the air fresh.
10. Flood the place with lights. Stand so that the light will fall directly in your face, so all your features can be seen.
11. Don’t stand behind furniture. Push the tables and chairs to one side. Clear away all the unsightly signs and trumpery that often clutter up a platform.
12. If you have guests on the platform, they are sure to move occasionally; and each time they make the slightest movement, they are certain to seize the attention of your hearers. An audience cannot resist the temptation to look at any moving object or animal or person; so why store up trouble and create competition for yourself?