Posture: Focus on Performance (4 of 5)

Slump back into your chair for a moment.

Comfortable? Good. Now try to gesture with genuine enthusiasm.

If you’re like most people, it wasn’t easy. The gestures probably felt a bit forced and were almost certainly too casual for a media interview.

Okay, now lean forward in your chair. Plant your feet firmly on the floor in front of you (women may cross their feet at the ankles), and try to gesture again. It probably felt better, right? More natural, more authentic, and less forced?

Leaning forward and projecting energy outward may seem obvious, but many people in our media training sessions begin their first interview by slumping into their chair. Doing so inevitably dampens their energy and decreases their volume – worse, the passive position often makes them a little slower on their feet. Here are some effective techniques:

  • For standing interviews, try placing one foot slightly in front of the other. Doing so prevents the dreaded side-to-side sway, and also helps keep your energy aimed forward.
  • For seated interviews, move forward so you’re only sitting on the front half of the chair. Lean forward a bit to help increase your energy and ensure that the camera’s main focus is on your face, not your body.

One final note: some media trainers recommend leaning forward at too severe of an angle – 15 or 20 degrees. That’s bad advice, since it makes you look like you’re about to lunge at the reporter. That’s something we typically discourage. Even for the most obnoxious reporters.

You can find the other four elements of body language here: Energy, Eye Contact, Gestures, Voice