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Working the Diagonals

 

Techniques Public speaking > Speaking Tips > Working the Diagonals

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

When speaking to a larger audience, turn to face different lines of people who are sitting one behind another when you talk.

Walk to the edge of the stage and talk to corner-to-corner 'royal diagonals'. From the middle of the stage, turn 45 degrees to the left and to the right as well as addressing the front-to-back line directly in front of you. With a non-square auditorium, there are also places to left and right of the middle where you can speak to a diagonal which ends in the far corners.

When speaking to a line of people, you can look at individuals by scanning up and down. To appear like you are talking to everyone, focus about a third of the way down the line.

Example

When talking to a conference audience, I deliberately turn and speak along all lines of people I can find. I increase the ability to do this by walking to the left and right of the stage and stopping also in between.

Discussion

When you look at a person, then the similarity in direction can make the people behind and in front of the target person think you are talking directly with them too. 

As you turn, you are showing that you are seeking to include all parts of the audience, not just the front row or a vague central area. Talking to diagonals requires turning the body and so shows you are reaching out deliberately to the people along that diagonal.

The layout of seats affect what lines of people can be found. Rectangular, with one person behind another is easiest. Sometimes seats are staggered to ease viewing. Lines of people can also be found in these layouts, although it can be a little trickier.

See also

Eyeballing Individuals

 

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