Don’t Stand For Being Seated

by JustinLL on 22 May 2009

It’s true, I can’t handle folks who speak from a seated position when presenting to an audience from what should be an authoritative stance.  If you have the stage, then you should control the stage and all the space that goes along with it.  I suppose this is a problem more for panel presentations where there are a few, um…experts, sharing the spotlight.  But if it’s not the Q&A portion of the show, whoever is speaking should stand up and shout to the back of the room, even if there are only seven people in the audience.

When it’s my turn, I’ll ask (for the sake of being polite) the moderator if it’s okay for me to stand because "I have a proclivity for exaggerated gesticulation when I present that is greatly hindered from a seated position."  In which case everyone is confused and the moderator replies, "yes, that would be fine."  (Well, many people are confused most of the time by nature, which has little to do with my presence or line of questioning.)  So I take the floor, the mic, the remote (PowerPoint), and whatever else I need so as to ensure everyone is not only watching, but also listening, because I’m the expert and you all better be paying attention.

Let’s get serious here for a minute, this is an issue of confidence, not to be confused with arrogance, that by standing to demand attention tells the audience you’re worthy of their time and attention.  (Or at least you believe yourself worthy, and most likely rightfully so.)  The truth being that everyone knows something other people don’t.  And if someone has invited you to present your knowledge and experience, then that person values your time and attention.  So don’t cower to the crowd and hide in the shadows.

The same can be said for the audience.  Please get off your ass and stand up to ask your question so that the entire room can hear what you’re saying.  (We have two hundred people in the room tonight, can you please repeat the question.)  There’s a pretty good chance that your concern is shared by others, and if it’s not, then you should be pelted with rotten tomatoes.  But don’t take it personally.  Learn.

And I could go off on another tangent (but I realize I’m already rambling on) about how people are too…well, let’s just leave it at that.

Your knowledge is valuable — stand up and share it! Kick your chair, too, if you’re really feeling the power of controlling center stage.  Oh yeah


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