💂 Three walking styles used by the world's most impactful speakers

Why is it so difficult to walk naturally when everyone’s watching?!

At the beginning of Helen Mirren’s Masterclass on acting, she walks across the set, sits down on a chair, looks straight into the camera and says:

So I just did what I consider to be one of the most difficult things to do in my profession of acting, which is to walk as yourself.

It’s always stuck with me.

And I want it to stick with you too, because your walk can have a profound impact on your presentation before you’ve even opened your mouth. If there was one thing you can do to take your presentations to the next level this week, it’s this…

Use your walk to set the tone of your presentation.

Why is it so difficult to walk naturally when everyone’s watching?

Because when our fight or flight response is triggered, we enter a state of hyper-awareness. It makes every part of our body feel like it doesn’t belong; like our hands during a presentation 🤲! [For readers of my Make It Count book: I talk about how to overcome hyper-awareness in the Confidence section 📖].

Get your walk right and it will:

  1. Make your audience more receptive to you and your topic 🤩

  2. Change the energy in the room (and yours) ⚡️

  3. Set the appropriate tone for the opening section of your talk 🎵

That means slinking, ambling, traipsing, wandering or plodding aren’t going to cut it. Swaggering isn’t going to do you any favours either.

Instead, opt for one of the following:

  1. The energetic trot: To convey a sense of fun and enthusiasm.
    Think quick and lively - like a start-up founder at a product launch.

  2. The casual saunter: To convey a calm and accessible demeanour.
    Think slow and self-assured - like a former head of state being introduced at a conference.

  3. The purposeful stride: To convey a sense of importance and urgency.
    Think determined and confident - like a general sending their troops into battle.

Which one suits your next presentation the best?

While they might be very different, they all communicate that you have something worth listening to. Three things to note:

  1. Keep your chin up to convey confidence (even when you’re not feeling it) 🤔

  2. Match your walking speed to the tone you want to set 🥁.

  3. Make eye contact whilst walking to create an early and welcome connection with your audience 👀.

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Whenever you're ready, here are some ways I can help:

  1. Got a high-stakes presentation coming up at work? Raise your game with a copy of Make It Count 📘.*

  2. Ready to become a sought-after speaker? Become a member of MicDrop 🎤.

  3. Looking to upgrade your team’s presentation skills? Book a call ☎️.

  4. Get paid to speak? Take part in the MicDrop Open Speaker Fee Project and find out whether you’re charging what you’re really worth.

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