Does the Bigger Man Win?

Presentation bigger
When speaking in front of an audience, does size matter? Specifically, do you appear more powerful and thus more persuasive when you are taller and/or larger than your competition.

On his NeuroScience Marketing Blog, Roger Dooley states, "There’s data from business showing that tall men are more likely to be promoted than shorter guys, and that they also earn more money."

Dooley provocatively suggests "Politics is Simple: Vote for the Tall Guy".

He justifies that statement with this opening:
"Our decisions aren’t always as rational as we think, and choosing a presidential candidate is no exception. Researchers at Texas Tech have found an innate preference for candidates who are more physically imposing. This tendency is considered to be an example of evolutionary psychology, in which modern-day humans still exhibit behaviors developed in our hunter-gatherer days. (Or, simply put, “caveman politics.”)"

Politically incorrect or not, there appears to be a correlation between an individual's height and possibly body size and their perceived leadership abilities.

In my experience observing, training and coaching speakers, I've noticed this same relationship. Specifically a speaker who appears to be larger often projects more power and thus is more effective as a presenter.

Regardless of your size, how might you use this information?

The key to remember is "relative size". How large or tall or powerful do you appear to your audience as compared to your competitiion. Even if you are not a political candidate you are still competiting.

If you are a large person, flaunt it.

If you are a smaller person, you can appear to be larger by:

  • Standing closer to the audience
  • Standing as tall as you can
  • Walking confidently
  • Talking in a deeper voice
  • Moving your arms in bigger gestures
  • Speaking from a raised platform
  • Not hiding behind the lecturn
  • Speaking slower
  • Moving about the stage to consume all the space
My friend and mentor, Peter Urs Bender, used these techniques to appear much larger on stage than he was. He remarked to me that after people watched him speak on stage they often approached him to speak with him. Peter noticed that many people did a double take in suprise when they realized how short he was.

When he was on stage he appeared powerful because of his presentation skills. Because he appeared powerful people assumed that he must be tall.
If you want to appear more powerful when presenting, use these techniques to appear larger.
Read the full article Politics is Simple: Vote for the Tall Guy by Roger Dooley

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Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives

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