Most familiar everyday situations are so-called “one-to-one situations”. In these one-to-one situations, we communicate in dialogue with individual or a few communication partners in alternating and symmetrical ping-pong dialogue. Every conversation in the family or with a customer is a typical one-to-one communication situation.
On the other hand, when we lecture, speak or present in front of an audience, we tend to find ourselves in a so-called “one-to-many situation”. Here we stand as a single person for a certain time centrally in front of an expectant audience and present an idea, a concept or a product. In this context, the presenter is defined as the “talker” and the listeners are defined as the “listeners.” The communication is therefore rather asymmetrically designed. This asymmetry (which can be more or less pronounced) has to be – otherwise it would not be a presentation, but “only” a guided meeting or moderation.
The one-to-many asymmetry lets the presenter slide into a certain “prominence” – whether he likes it or not. The term “prominence” comes from the Latin “prominere” and means something like “to stand out” or “to excel”. And the presenter – whether he likes it or not – is always outstanding in his central role from among the people present in the room.
– He stands – the others sit.
– He moves a lot – the others hardly move at all.
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– He speaks – the others hear.
– He looks at everyone else – the others look almost only at him.
– He has media at his disposal – the others do not.
However, the presenter must also accept this prominence for himself and represent it through appropriate behavior – otherwise he loses his performance as a presenter. Because the audience expects the presenter to accept the celebrity and also celebrate it in a certain sense.
For this purpose, there are 3 volume areas in which the presenter can and should build up a kind of “volume” in order to radiate a certain prominence as a result.
1. volume range: volume-volume
A presenter who consistently speaks too softly is clearly depriving himself of volume and thus of effectiveness and broadcasting power in front of the audience. Therefore, it is important to adjust the volume of one’s own presentation appearance to the associated prominence and centrality. When in doubt, it is better to speak a shade too loudly than a shade too softly.
If you, as the presenter, feel that you are speaking minimally too loudly, then the volume usually fits quite well.
You also have to be careful not to get quieter at the end of sentences. This happens frequently and subtly lowers the overall importance of one’s own statements.
Being prominent therefore also means celebrating and using volume.
2. volume range: time volume
A presenter who is very hectic and rushed in front of the audience will lose his or her effectiveness and power to send messages to the audience. Such a presenter does not seem to be important enough to consciously cost the audience some time volume with his thoughts.
If you have good thoughts and concepts and are convinced of them, you may also take time-volume for their presentation – at least that’s how you should feel when appearing in front of the audience. The audience must clearly feel that the presenter has the time scepter in his hand and also uses it consciously.
– Therefore, one should avoid speaking too quickly or speaking without clear pauses for effect.
– Also, the presenter should not move too fast or rushed in the room.
– Likewise, the presenter should not jump back and forth too quickly between each audience member with his or her eye contact.
– Likewise, gesturing too quickly takes away a lot of impact if you don’t let it linger.
– Conversely, as a presenter, you can hardly build up more prominence than when you take a break during a presentation that is so long that it hurts the audience just a little bit. Try it out: Take a break of 7 seconds between 2 sentences – and you will feel the centrality and prominence you gain in front of the audience.
Being prominent therefore also means: celebrating and using the volume of time.
3. volume range: space volume
A presenter who takes up too little space in the room thereby deprives himself of effectiveness and broadcasting power in front of the audience. You as the presenter are the central person. Therefore, the room and especially the stage belong to you and your performance.
– For example, a presenter who permanently stands in front of the audience with a stand that is too narrow will lose standing and prominence in his effect.
– A presenter who stays in the same place for a very long time without using his space loses broadcasting power.
– Or, for example, if a presenter gestures too tightly (just short of the belly), he also gives himself a lot of prominence by doing so.
– Often, gestures that are too tight are also combined with gestures that are too fast – as a result, the presenter loses prominence volume twice: space volume (too tight) and time volume (too fast).
But just the other way around, you can couple the space-volume and the time-volume very nicely by not only making gestures a bit wider spatially, but also by letting them “stand” a bit longer in space temporally.
Being prominent therefore also means: celebrating and using the volume of space.
All 3 volume areas (volume-volume + time-volume + space-volume) contribute quite significantly to the impact of the presenter as a celebrity in front of his audience. Based on my experience from more than 1000 presentation trainings and presentation supervision sessions, I can say in good conscience that as a presenter you also hardly need to be afraid of overdoing these volume ranges.
Peter Mohr holds a degree in adult education. Until 1995, he worked as an Air Force officer for the Federal Ministry of Defense. His basic principle is: Highest quality through highest specialization. Therefore, PETER MOHR has been working since 1995 as an absolutely specialized trainer, speaker and coach on only one topic: “PRESENTING SUCCESSFULLY”. Peter Mohr has already conducted more than 1000 presentation trainings and authored 15 books and audio books on the subject of SUCCESSFUL PRESENTATION. As a former officer, he deliberately designs his lectures and trainings in a very ornate and tight way – as tightly as a military briefing.
So quite consciously according to the principle: JUST INFO – NO TAINMENT.
Podcast: You can get numerous tips and tricks on the subject of SUCCESSFUL PRESENTATION in Peter Mohr’s podcast: https://www.peter-mohr-trainer.de/präsentations-tipps-per-podcast .
Peter Mohr will again be a presentation expert at Presentation Rocket Day in 2017.
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