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3 surprisingly easy ways to improve your next presentation

Campbell Such | Aug. 5, 2015
These little known but practical steps can work whether you are presenting to a single person or a group.

Thanks goodness that's no longer the case and it's acceptable to be left handed in society today.

But is that true for our unconscious biases? We have such a strong cultural history of associating left with bad and right with good. Would you be surprised to find out that we still have a subconscious aversion to the left?

It also turns out that we tend to associate items and people in our left visual field in a negative way compared to when they are sitting to our right.

How can this help you present more effectively?

When you're presenting 'the problem' or the issue with the current situation, make sure you stand to the audiences left (your right) and explain the problem while standing there.

Then when you present the solution move away from the 'bad side' across to the audience's right (your left) to present your solution.

And anytime in your presentation that you need to refer to something related to:

1. The problem, move back to the audiences left

2. The solution, move to the audience's right

You'll make it easier to get the audience to come along with you, you'll have a purpose for moving on the stage (not just wandering around) and the audience will feel more comfortable with you. It also provides another dimension for structure to your presentation, something that your audience is always looking for (usually subconsciously) to help them understand and recall what you're presenting.

Dr. Kevin Hogan conducted experiments with left versus right and found that it can also help you when sitting at a desk or table when in a meeting or presentation. What he found was that when sitting across the table from someone; sit slightly to their right so that your right eye lines up with their right eye. We tend to have much better feelings for someone when they sit in our right visual field.

So, if you want to be the 'right hand man' or woman for a leader it could be a very good idea to make sure you always position yourself on their right. Although I wonder how that will make you feel towards them. More work to do there...

Additional takeaways

The left and right side of the stage also works for 'past' and 'future' events and ideas.

  • When discussing the past move to the audience's left

"Here's where we were..."

  • When discussing the present move back to the centre to discuss the problems, issues or challenges you have now.

"Here's where we are now..."

  • When discussing the future move to the audience's right to present your ideas, recommendations or proposal on

"Here's what we need to do to solve the problem..."

 

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