When preparing a remote presentation there are many variables to take into account. It can easy to forget the basics. And yet, those basics can make the difference between delivering a presentation with impact—or being that person who drones on in the background while others multitask. We don’t want that. We want to be front and centre in our audience’s mind. Here are three simple ways to project confidence when presenting remotely.
Lean Forward In Your Chair
Sit up straight! I know, I probably sound like a nagging mom or dad right now. Sitting up straight, or not, makes a huge difference visually when delivering a remote presentation. When we sit back, it’s tempting to look down. We come across as scared. Plus we close off access to our breath, which can lead to voice strain. By leaning forwards in our chair, we naturally open to our audience and project more confidence.
If possible, I recommend that you move your hips forward on your chair, so that you are lined up to the front of the seat. In this position you support your back with your abdominal muscles. (Bonus: it’s a great workout!).
For those of you who cannot sit in this position because you need more support for your back, try propping yourself up with a pillow. Place the pillow between the small of your back and the chair to get some extra lift. This will help you to sit up straighter. You’ll have more energy and air flow to project confidence when presenting.
Keep Your Feet On The Ground
The second no-miss rule to help you project confidence when presenting is to ground your feet. Whether you choose to sit or stand for your remote presentation, keep those feet connected to the ground. Back in theatre school I learned a great technique for staying grounded in this way. Those of you who practice yoga may be familiar with this visualisation.
What you do is place your two feet on the ground and then imagine roots growing out of them, connecting deep down into the earth. Picture yourself as a majestic tree rising up out of the ground.
If your feet are shuffling about while you speak it can give the impression of being shifty, or nervous. This is especially noticeable in the small frame of a camera lens. The more you shuffle, the more nervous you get. Before you know it, your breath becomes shallow, cut off at your chest.
Grounding your feet into the earth helps everything to settle. You immediately turn your attention inward to the energy circulating in your body, rather than remaining paralysed with fright.
Avoid Rolling Chairs
Not all chairs are made alike. Your favourite office chair may feel really comfortable for hours of research, while unknowingly nudging you to constrict your body inwards. Or maybe you have a rolling desk chair. Take a good look at your office chair to figure out whether it’s a friend or foe when presenting. And don’t hesitate to swap it out before an important presentation. Sitting in a slouchy or rolling chair makes it so much harder to lean forward and ground your feet.
The best chair for a remote presentation is one in which you can easily place your feet on the ground: for instance, a kitchen or dining room chair. A more structured chair encourages you to stay grounded and minimise unnecessary movement.
If you’ve ever seen a media interview where somebody is sitting back or shuffling their feet, you know how dizzying this can appear to viewers. Even worse, you might come across as arrogant, dismissive or dishonest. Something as simple as changing up your chair can transform how you are perceived, from untrustworthy to confident.
These are three ways to set you up for success—and project confidence when presenting—even when you are nervous.