I presented a new business concept to a group of investors last week. I’ve never been very nervous when speaking in public, but just because I’m comfortable doesn’t mean I’m perfect when speaking. In fact, it probably means my imperfections are more noticeable than anyone else’s.
I took extra care to watch my body language. Body language accounts for the majority of your communication – not your words. One thing I paid especially close attention to was how much my lower body moved.
What does this have to do with blogging? Stick with me for a bit.
I see speakers move, and it isn’t a bad thing. In fact anytime someone stands still I tend to doze off. Think of traditional preachers camping out in pulpits and reading from large books. See, I almost fell off just now.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt the pain of a speaker giving a presentation while standing very still. Before we go on, one thing: Why are you raising your hand? You’re alone in front of your computer, put that down before someone sees you.
What I would like to talk about is healthy motion. Like many things, motion when speaking in front of people is a case of balancing extremes. No motion is boring, and too much movement gives off a nervous vibe. Check out this quote from Lin Sexton in a recent column for Worship Leader Magazine:
For novice performers, it’s the feet that often reveal their insecurity and discomfort. They may sound convincing and may even appear in character from their torso up, but nervous feet expose a lack of craft and control.
So confidence is seen in meaningful movement. Walk with confidence, walk calmly, and walk with purpose.
Make Your Stance Meaningful
When not moving, your stance says a lot about you. For instance a wide stance is considered masculine and confident. A narrow stance, with feet together, is very feminine or meek. Picture a police officer, hulking over passing pedestrians in a nearly awkwardly wide stance. He’s doing that to appear in control (whether he feels that way or not). But then consider that anytime someone is portrayed as either a child or someone equally helpless, this is done with feet tightly together (and usually shoulders slightly shrugged).
Again, balance is important. Personally, I want to be seen as confident. But I don’t want to be as overbearing as a cop.
Watch Your Feet While Blogging
Ah, now to the application portion of the course. When I say to watch your feet while blogging, I mean just that.
Well, not literally:
- Walk with confidence. Online. Find your niche and take command of it. Live it and breath it, and do so unapologetically. As mentioned in the past, being a blogging authority starts with considering yourself one. In the same way no one will respect you when you speak in public unless you look the part, your presence online won’t hold water unless you carry yourself confidently.
- Walk with purpose. Give your readers a reason to read. This only applies to those who want to generate a following. If your goal is to keep a blogging diary, then by all means give it your all. There’s definitely something to say for personal blogging. However, if you want a crowd to read your writing, be sure you’re writing something worth reading. And, as much as you can, cut out the fat. Don’t distract your reader so much that they miss the point of your message.
- Be sure to walk. It’s okay to walk. There needs to be a bit of variety and play in everything you do, whether it’s presenting to an audience or writing to them. For example, look over the words I’ve written above. I’ve made a point to be more playful than usual. Can you tell? How did it change your reading experience? If you can keep the balance, feel free to have some fun with your audience. Don’t be the boring preacher.
Oh, and if you’re wondering how my presentation went: very well. I think I kept an acceptable amount of movement, and (hopefully) appeared confident in just the right way. One note I have for myself: always have water on hand. For me it can make or break any presentation. For bloggers that probably equates to Red Bull or Diet Coke. Whatever keeps you going, right?