Jerry Weissman, the coach & author, coined the phrase the ‘comfort zone paradox’ to describe a fundamental truth of presenting. Put simply, what feels wrong, looks right (and what feels right, looks wrong).
While this is a useful tip to remember, it is also really hard to do – particularly if you are nervous, when you are most likely to revert to instinctive body language and cling to yourself for comfort!
The key thing to remember is that a confident posture – as the audience perceives it – is one that expresses openness… open chest, open arms, open palms… this is what conveys authenticity and credibility.
The problem is that what feels better, or ‘natural’, is to clasp our hands together, clutch our body somewhere and even round our shoulders. (If we could, we would probably go fully foetal!)
So you have to try and remember the paradox. What feels wrong, looks right.
You have to try (despite your better instincts) to open your body – even when your adrenaline is pumping at full pelt and wants you to go into some strange yoga contortion – and stand tall. Think open. Think palms. Think tall… and remember the paradox. If it feels wrong, it probably looks right!
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I have helped many people, who were once nervous and rambling to become confident and engaging public speakers. Giving presentations, like driving lessons, is a skill you learn so you can get somewhere… and with my help you will get there in no time.