When you deliver a presentation, one of the most important factors that figures into the success of your talk is whether you take the command presentation position.
Don’t follow the example of most after-dinner speakers or professors, who hide behind the lectern, shuffling notes, looking down, gripping the edges of the podium with white-knuckled fervor.
This is grotesque.
It induces your audience to doze, to drift, to check out.
Instead, seize the metaphorical high ground of the presentation terrain . . . the Command Presentation Position.
And this means that you shun the lectern.
The Abominable Lectern!
The lectern is an abomination.
If you happen to be a liberal arts student who drifted here by mistake, think of the lectern as The Oppressor or The Other. It puts a barrier between you and those whom you address.
For many students, the lectern is a place to hide from the audience.
I recommend using the lectern only once, as a tool . . . and this is the occasion to walk from behind it to approach your audience at the very beginning of your talk. This is an action of communication, a reaching out, a gesture of intimacy.
Do not lean upon the lectern in nonchalant fashion, particularly leaning upon your elbow and with one leg crossed in front of the other.
Fix this now.
Move from behind the lectern and into the Command Presentation Position. In today’s fleeting vernacular, occupy the command presentation position.
The Command Position is the position directly in front of a lectern (or well to the side of the lectern, if it’s located on the wing of the stage) and 4-8 feet from your audience. The Command Position extends approximately 4 feet to either side of you. You are not a visitor in this space.
As a presenter or speaker, this is your home. You own this space, so make it yours. You must always perform as if you belong there, never there as a visitor.
Occupy the command presentation position now for democracy, social justice, and an especially powerful presentation. And personal competitive advantage.
For more sloganeering and outright good presentation advice, consult The Complete Guide to Business School Presenting.