S EATED P RESENTATIONS -
D ON'T B E A S ITTING D UCK
At one time or another, your boss has probably said to you, "Don't get caught sitting down on this one." The problem is, many sales presentations are made while you're doing exactly that - sitting down.
It's more difficult to be impressive and in control when making a seated presentation than when standing, say Judy Stein and Marya Holcombe, principals of Strategic Communications, Inc., a consulting firm in New Haven, Conn. They believe salespeople who don't adjust their delivery style inadvertently put themselves in the hot seat.
Fortunately, the problem is easily remedied with a few simple modifications. Here's what Stein and Holcombe suggest:
Work hard to appear energetic.
Sit on the front half of your seat, and sit up straight. If you don't, you may be tempted to let yourself collapse in the chair or lean over the table; both of these positions make you appear less confident and also hinder voice projection.
Keep your voice strong.
Many people use an "intimate" or "social" voice when they are seated: this lessens their credibility.
Don't move around in your seat.
If you tap your foot or wiggle your knees under the table, your upper body is likely to move as well.
Keep your hands on or above the table.
Don't hesitate to use hand movements - they make your presentation more energetic and expressive. Don't, however, fidget or cover your mouth.
Maintain eye contact.
This sounds rudimentary, but it's more difficult to maintain eye contact while seated in close quarters than while standing. And since only the upper half of your body is visible when you're behind a table, a wandering gaze will be even more noticeable.
Don't allow a "we/they" seating arrangement in which adversaries sit across from each other.
Try to intersperse key people around the table. Put a briefcase on a chair you don't want occupied.
Don't get stuck in a low, soft seat.
In a one-on-one meeting, you may be offered a seat on a couch. The solution: Claim a bad back and take a straight chair. The reason: It's impossible to look professional when lost in a sea of cushions.
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