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constraining important body language. (Refer to page 65)
I strongly encourage you not to use them, just as I urge you
to use as few notes as possible. Notes are essential only when
you must read a prepared speech, or give a presentation in a
foreign language. In that case, a lectern with a light and
microphone will help you get through your talk smoothly.
However, lecterns do make things look official. The seri-
ousness of your topic, the occasion, and the degree of formality
in the audience may require that you use one. If so, plan to start
and end behind it, but deliver most of your presentation away
from the lectern with your whole body in full view.
There is one important rule about lecterns: Do not keep
your hands gripped on the sides! This draws listeners’ atten-
tion to your nervousness and restrains your body language.
However, gripping the sides of the lectern can be a very
effective technique for adding emphasis. Appropriately grasp
the lectern only once or twice and lean toward the audience to
make your critical points. The contrast helps emphasize what
you are saying. Practice speaking comfortably without a lec-
tern. If one is available, use it to hold your notes but do not hide
behind it as you deliver your talk or you will reduce the power
of your presentation.
While I strongly discourage the use of lecterns, you might want
to consider using a wire music stand for your notes. Most hotels
have one - you just have to ask. The difference is that they are
less obtrusive and small enough that you won’t be tempted to
rest your hands. Your listeners will clearly be able to see you.
If you present from notes or a workbook, you can rest these on
the stand. You then have both: all your notes in front of you,
plus 100% use of your body to communicate freely and natu-
rally to your audience.
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