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When speaking, take charge of your surroundings

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

As you mingle before delivering a speech, use that time to win over audience members. Help them form a positive first impression of you.

Arrive early and work the crowd. Introduce yourself, ask friendly questions and get others to talk. Smile and make eye contact to show that you’re eager to listen.

If you’re nervous, take a deep breath through your nose. Expand your lungs—and then gradually exhale as you enter into conversations.

As you exhale, you will draw more blood to your face. This makes you look more energetic and less tentative.

Stand up straight and balance your weight on both legs. This prevents you from slouching or swaying.

If you must glance at your smartphone, check it before you enter the room—then put it away. Hunching over a handheld device to read or type diminishes your stature.

If you’re seated as a panelist, consider moving a few items around on the table in front of you. Simply adjusting the microphone or placing a glass of water a few inches closer (or farther) alerts your brain that you’re in control of your surroundings. That, in turn, breeds confidence that can carry over into your remarks.

When it’s time to give your presentation, start by establishing a rousing rhythm. Construct three sentences that build on each other through repetition. Example: “We must excel at delighting customers. We must excel at delighting regulators. We must excel at delighting each other.”

— Adapted from “How To Improve Your Executive Presence And Command A Room,” Joshua Miller, www.linkedin.com.

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