Stand or sit
I sometimes wonder if it is better to stand or sit while presenting. This week I had an experience which answered the question. I gave (basically) the same presentation three times in one day to two different audiences, in two different settings.

The first two presentations were given in a staff lunch room, there were approximately 10 people in each group.  The goal was to introduce new technologies.  I did the two presentations while standing; standing worked well for this audience and setting.

The third presentation was given at a restaurant, to three physicians. The presentation was basically the same content; however I decided to sit while giving this presentation.  We had an additional goal for this session: to discover whether the new technologies would be a good fit with the physicians’ current and future practice.  This presentation ended up being more of a discussion; sitting worked well for this audience and setting.

Experts say that standing while presenting sends the non-verbal message that you are the expert, while sitting sends the non-verbal message that you are a colleague or team member.  Standing gives you more authority and control; I think this is the way to go if the main goal of your presentation is to deliver information.  When sitting you lose some control but the audience seems to open up more for discussion.

You can make the decision to “stand and deliver” or “sit and discuss” based on the audience, audience size, setting (it would be hard to “sit” in a lecture theatre), and of course the goal of the presentation.

Joe Pops

Refuse to be boring

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