Presentation Skills: Working and Winning the Room
March 12, 2018 by Randy Furches

Woman presenting to group

You’ve done everything you can to prepare for a presentation. You carefully crafted the speech, designed your visuals, and rehearsed your delivery. But, is this really enough to totally win over a room? As soon as you step into a room, your audience begins to judge you - and this will make an impression that has nothing to do with what you know nor what you’ve prepared to present to them. 

The best presenters know that you can work and win over a room by sending the right signals with both verbal and nonverbal cues. Here are just a few tips that can help you start winning over your next audience as soon as you walk into the room:

  • Project Your Excitement – Instead of feeling like a bundle of nerves when first walking into a room, remember that you want to be there and let people know that both verbally and non-verbally. Try to relax and smile as you mingle with your future audience members instead of keeping to yourself. Tell people what an honor it is to be given the chance to speak while projecting warmth and gratefulness for being there. Working the room before actually starting your presentation will also make you a “person” in the eyes of the audience, instead of just “the presenter.” When the audience sees you this way, they will likely be more respectful and more open to your words.
  • Be Confident in Your Words and Actions – While presenting, move around the stage and/or room with a sense of purpose as you speak. This will demonstrate your confidence as you ease your way around the space. If possible, try to know what kind of stage or space you will be presenting in ahead of time so you know what you’re in for and can prepare your delivery. Some presenters make the mistake of acting like they are trapped behind the podium, and this isn’t a very compelling stance for your audience. 
  • Avoid Fidgeting – Fidgeting can not only detract from your presentation, but it can also hurt your level of trustworthiness with the audience. Actions and gestures such as rubbing your hands together, crossing your arms, and touching your head all come across as anxious behaviors that can undermine your confidence levels. It can be helpful to record yourself while you rehearse (like we do in our Executive Presentation Skills™ seminars) so that you can identify your bad habits and work on breaking them.
  • Make a Connection – Try to make each audience member feel as if you are speaking to them. This can be done by purposefully making eye contact with as many people as possible. 

Would you like to further your presentation skills and learn how to really win over an audience? Register to join us for one of our virtual or in-person Executive Presentation Skills™ seminars!