Stand Up and Stand Out

Standup-standout

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

Do Jerry Seinfeld’s words strike a chord? We are more afraid of public speaking than we are death. Now that’s saying something.

With such rampant fear of public speaking, it’s no wonder than so many of us would rather give a presentation while seated rather than standing. But if you’re sitting, you’re taking away from the impact of your message.

After sitting through thousands of pitches from entrepreneurs seeking funding, Ray Rothrock, a partner at venture capital firm Venrock (known for early investments in companies like Apple and Intel) shared, “If I had to recall all the pitches that have been given to me, I’d be willing to bet that the ones who stood to present either received more funding, or at least dramatically improved their chances of getting funding.”

This is the difference between sitting back and taking a stand.

If you’re looking to influence and move others to action, take a look at these Dos and Don’ts for communicating your message while standing:

Do:

  • Stand tall. Standing up instantly increases the energy and lightness behind your message. Especially if you’re leading a conference call, the increased energy of a standing versus seated speaker is palpable.
  • Plant your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Get out from behind the lectern! The lectern’s not a shield – your audience can still see you from behind there.
  • Finally, move! Don’t pace back and forth; instead, move purposefully as you connect with different members of your audience with your eyes.

Don’t:

  • Lean back.
  • Rest on one hip or sway back and forth from one hip to another. Both communicate a lack of confidence.
  • Cross your legs in front of you – you’ll look like a little kid who has to use the restroom.

Now, there may be some situations where standing up may just feel off (and may even be inappropriate) – you know, like a one-on-one meeting with your boss or a formal business dinner. It does depend on the number of people and the size of the room. As a general rule of thumb, if there are at least five people around the table, standing up is the best strategy to raise energy, increase momentum and move others to action.

book_banner_blog

Cut the Jargon

Back when I was working in the Sales Consulting world, I started saying, “There exists a contradiction in,” instead of, “There is” – because I heard someone else say it. A classic foible of those fresh out of business school. Perhaps that’s why we got a laugh out of this … Continue reading

They’re Just Like Us (Nervous)

To kick off the #FearNoShame campaign this week in recognition of World Aids Day, Prince Harry shared a secret fear. He shared that his fear is public speaking. No matter how big the crowd or the audience. I sometimes buy US Weekly from the newsstand at the airport when I … Continue reading

How to Avoid Brain Freeze When Speaking

It’s happened to all of us at least once. You’re prepared, and you’re nervous. And all of a sudden, your mind goes blank. Brain Freeze. We recently got a question from a participant that we wanted to answer to a wider forum. Q:  I’m wondering if Decker has any official … Continue reading

The Audience Only Gets What You Give Them

The mask used by Michael Myers in the original “Halloween” was actually a Captain Kirk mask, painted white, due to low budget. Did you know that? I sure didn’t – I was so darn focused on how frightening he was. (Although after reading this fact on an airplane, I couldn’t … Continue reading

Where It All Begins: Your Listeners

You can’t pass go, you can’t collect $200 (let alone $20,000 or $200,000 for your next initiative) if you haven’t gone through the first step: That’s right. Rephrase your agenda to meet theirs, instead. Since our goal is to influence others and to persuade them to take action, we can’t … Continue reading

Crisis Communication: Power of Your Voice

While I was driving to work, I was listening to the morning news on the radio. During a report about the latest Ebola outbreak, I was shocked to hear a voice of calm – it was a doctor and scientist with great bedside manner. Check out the audio from this … Continue reading

Upspeak: Destroyer of Credibility

Invisible question marks – ending sentences on a higher pitch is a plague that has seeped from middle school girls into our business communications. Maybe even to yours. Taylor Mali’s Def Poetry Jam explains: I’ve witnessed upspeak at the highest levels of Fortune 100 companies, and I’ve heard it used … Continue reading

A Real MVP

Before this week, I only knew Kevin Durant as a prolific NBA scorer and a star from the movie Thunderstruck (a family movie that my boys love). After watching his MVP speech, I now feel differently. You may or may not know (or like) Kevin Durant, but your attitude will … Continue reading

Commencement Speech: How to Rock It

As April showers make way for May flowers, graduates prepare to turn their tassels and toss their hats in the air. But what happens first? The commencement speeches, of course! For the grad, leader or educator preparing for a commencement speech, I bring you a special “how to” guide for … Continue reading