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Approach on Key Points


Techniques Public speaking > Speaking Tips > Approach on Key Points

Description | Example | Discussion | See also



When you are making a key point, move forward toward the audience. Also emphasize the point with your words and voice. Make eye contact with one person before you start moving and keep it as you move forward. Also try to move diagonally rather than straight forward.

Ideally you will get between 18 inches and four feet away from some members of the audience. This means coming out from behind a lectern or getting off a stage.

This should not restrict you to people in the front row -- you can pick people further back and walk forward as if you were going to walk right to them.

Then move back during a potent silence, a transition to the next point or to switch to the next slide. Do not move back before you have completed the point (the 'call of the next slide' can be a danger here).

If you are cannot get close, for example if you are behind a lectern with a microphone, then lean forward in an exaggerated way, as if you want to get close to them. Hold the lectern as if you want to move it out of the way.


I want to emphasize a point about ride-sharing. I pick a person towards the left in the second row and walk towards them, saying, 'You can save yourself money whilst you're saving the planet -- just by sharing.'


Moving towards a person (or even leaning towards them) can be a potential threat. It can also be a desire to get emotionally closer to the person. In either case, when you approach people, they pay attention. It is flattering to be personally identified by the speaker and this can increase their bond with you.

The reason for moving diagonally is so people further back can see that you are actually moving. If you move straight on, then others will not feel the impact of your moving.

Everyone in the audience will empathize with the person you are moving towards, especially those behind, in front and around the target person (this is another reason to choose a long diagonal).

We all have zones of personal space and when people move into these they have a particular effect. The '18 inch to four feet' zone is 'casual-personal' (at least in North America - other countries can be different) and is where friendly people go.

See also

Using emphasis, Proxemic Communication


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