If you want to demonstrate your leadership and Executive Presence, then you need to know how to command the room and captivate your audience. The ability to ‘own’ the room comes naturally to some people, but for most, it requires a lot of practice.
The effort is worth it, though, as doing so means you will be able to inspire confidence and influence those around you. It also makes it easier to deliver compelling narratives and communicate raw data as actionable insights, both of which are essential skills for any leader.
In this article, we compile some of the most effective tips and strategies to help you command any room you walk into.
Strategies to help you command the room
One of the best ways to make a good first impression is to arrive on time and make a strong entrance. You want all eyes to be on you from the minute you enter the room — but not because you’re late!
Being on time shows your audience that you are taking this seriously, making you appear more credible and trustworthy in their eyes.
Connect with your audience
Before you begin speaking, take a few minutes to mingle and connect with people. This will help to build rapport and can make your audience more receptive to your ideas.
Pay attention to your posture and body language
The way you speak and the way you hold yourself can captivate your audience and command their attention — or lose them completely. Stand tall, project your voice and own the stage.
Not only will the audience be listening to what you’re saying, but they will also be picking up on your nonverbal communication cues. These are things you might not even be consciously aware of, such as your posture, the way you move around, and what you do with your hands while speaking.
These subtle nonverbal behaviours can either strengthen your message or undermine it, so it’s important to pay close attention to them.
Give a short introduction
Don’t get carried away when introducing yourself or you risk losing the audience’s attention. Keep it short and to the point, and only include details that they need to know.
Establish your credibility by providing insight into your personal demonstrable experience with the topic. And establish common ground with your audience by touching on how the case you are making is consistent with their values and beliefs.
Be as concise as possible
When you are practising your speech or presentation, cut out everything that doesn’t add value. The clearer and more concise you can make it, the better, so distil it down until only the most compelling parts remain.
Understand your message
If you want to influence or persuade your audience, then you need to understand what it is you’re trying to say. Identify your core message and reinforce it with supporting points.
If you can get your message across clearly and concisely, then you will be in a much stronger position to command the room.
Understand your audience’s goals
Even the strongest, most impactful messages will be entirely lost on an audience who simply does not care. You can’t fully understand your own message without knowing how your audience will perceive and process it.
Get inside the problem or the topic at hand from your audience’s perspective and try and grasp the goals they are trying to achieve, the problems they are facing and what they want from the information you are giving them.
Make use of all the available space around you
Slowly and purposefully walk around the entire stage or presentation space you have on hand. It is a great way to keep your audience engaged and add intrigue and a sense of motion and activity to a presentation.
It also shows that you are confident enough to “own the stage”, which in turn will help the audience to see you as more confident.
Embrace strategic silence
Most people dread the idea of silence and will do anything to avoid it, but it can be a powerful tool when you know how to use it.
A well-timed pause can help to demonstrate your authority, build anticipation, and encourage your audience to reflect on what you’ve just said.
And it has the added benefit of making anyone who is not paying attention snap out of their daydream and try and figure out why there is silence all of a sudden.
One last thought – the technique of ‘power posing’
Power posing is a technique that became hugely popular after a viral 2012 Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy. Cuddy argued that power posing, also known as postural feedback, boosts your confidence and produces “positive psychological, behavioural and hormonal outcomes”.
It should be noted, however, that there is an ongoing debate about the effectiveness of power posing. While some may advocate for this technique, we advise that you approach it with a degree of caution.
We consider power posing to be a private technique, occurring before your presentation rather than during it. This is because a public display of power posing has the potential to spark ridicule rather than help generate respect and interest.
Instead, try to think of power posing as one part of a larger, private, pre-game ritual. Alongside deep breathing techniques and positive, personal affirmations, power posing could help you develop your own “Haka” – a unique manner of priming yourself for commanding the next room you enter.
Command the room with NxtGEN Executive Presence
Being able to command the room is an invaluable skill that can serve you in all areas of your life, including getting noticed by the right people. If you want to elevate your leadership and hone your presentation skills, NxtGEN Executive Presence is here to help.
Our Executive Presentation Skills training is renowned for helping people to achieve and excel in the corporate world. With our help, you will be able to command every room you enter and convey strength and authority with every word.