To own the room: is to command your audience’s attention, respect, and action from beginning to the end of your presentation.
It’s a great thing to accomplish, and with some training, tips, and awareness of you can do it.
In this article, you will find five simple ways you can own any room.
What does it mean to “own the room?”
Owning the room is an expression that means commanding the attention, respect, and action of others in a situation. The term is gaining popularity but has been around for a while. Here is a quote from The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, Volume 68 published in 1904
How to own the room:
Below are five ways to own a room. Each one can stand on its own, but the magic happens when you combine them all.
It’s hard to command your audience’s attention if you lack confidence. A study published by the University of Wolverhampton demonstrated that confident speakers are viewed as more credible and more likable than less confident speakers.
Confidence and influence go hand in hand. If you encounter someone with confidence, you will tend to believe, trust, and follow him/her. It breaks my heart when I see smart and capable professionals not able to get a word in a meeting because of their lack of assertiveness.
“I felt invisible in company meeting before dong the public speaking training with your organization” this is a quote I keep etched in my memory bank from a client or ours. Before owning any room, you have to feel that you are visible. Visibility comes from having the confidence to stand out and participate in meetings.
Here are a couple of resources to build your confidence:
The second way to own a room is with your delivery skills. Your movement, your gestures, and vocal modulation will either attract the audience or repel them. During executive coaching sessions, there are five delivery attributes that we focus on initially with clients. All are easy to adjust yet will have a significant impact on your ability to command a room.
Energy: The audience wants a speaker who is energetic. It does not mean you need to be a crazy clown on the stage. It just means you have to have a little bit more energy than your audience. People are attracted to energy.
Interactivity: People like you to interact them with a little when you present. Your audience does not like it if you speak “at” them; They want you to talk “with” them.
Same as with energy, you don’t want to go overboard with this. You want to have just enough interactivity to serve your presentation’s purpose and not do interactivity for the sake of interactivity.
Eye contact: Your audience wants you to connect with them. Looking at individuals will make people more engaged in your presentation. To make good eye contact, just make sure you connect with as many people as possible while you present.
Movement: Some speakers get planted like a tree, and others do the “wild monkey dance” by moving all over the stage. One is boring to the audience, and the other is distracting. To attract your audience, you need to move on stage with purpose. Move and position ideas on stage with purpose.
For example, if you want to talk about internet security in the past, present, and future. Then speak of the past in one spot, about the present in a different spot, and the future in a different spot.
Dressing the part: The way you dress matters! One time I worked with a client who got feedback from his manager to develop his executive presence. The first thing I noticed was that he is not dressing the part. I knew that right away because I worked with other executives from his organization, and I knew the dress code. His tennis shoes and the wrinkly shirt are not helping him in the more formal and conservative culture of his organization. By just putting on nice polished shoes and an ironed shirt, he started getting the attention and recognition he deserved. Of course, the dressing the part is not the only thing needed to own a room, but it helps start you on the right foot.
The third way to own any room is to tell good stories. The reason people are obsessed with shows like Game of Thrones, Vikings, House of Cards, and Breaking Bad is that they capture our imagination with their storylines. You can do the same when you communicate with your audience.
In business, there are only seven storylines that you need to know.
- Your personal story: How do you talk about yourself when you present
- Your company story: How do you talk about your organization
- Customer Success Story: How do you share the stories of your successful customers
- Objection destroyer: How to tell a story to negate an objection your audience might have.
- Lessons Learned Story: How to package your lessons in the form of stories to make them more memorable
- Hope Story: How to tell a story that inspires and lifts up your audience
- Study Story: How to take a technical study and turn it into an engaging story
- You can learn about these stories and how to construct and utilize them in the Magnetic Storytelling Bootcamp.
The fourth way to own a room is through the structure of your narrative. No one is attracted to a rambly and confusing presentation. To get people on your side and have them in the palm of your hand, you need to be clear with your messaging.
Clarity comes from structure. Make sure you map out the narrative of your presentation and make sure it flows and makes logical sense.
4 Tested and proven structures for your presentation
- Chronological pattern: a time-based narrative with events organized based on when they happened
- Sequential pattern: an event-based narrative with events organized based on previous events
- Spatial pattern: a space-based narrative with events laid out on different spots on stage
- Climactic pattern: Importance-based narrative with events organized from least important to most important
For more structures check out this article:
5. Improvise well
The fifth way to own a room is to improvise well. Charming with your spontaneity and wit is a great way to get and hold people’s attention. This is the hardest way because it takes a lot of practice to be a good improviser. However, working in this area will help all the other areas.
One of the fastest ways to build your ability to own any room is to take a public speaking training. You can randomly pick up techniques here and there, but if you want to learn how to attract and keep attention systematically, then you need to train for it.
Take training on delivery, storytelling, presentation structure, and impromptu speaking, and start building your skills.
To own the room is to command your audience’s attention and action from beginning to end.
It’s a great thing to accomplish, and with some training, tips, and awareness of you can do it. There are five main ways to own any room: Confidence, delivery, structure, storytelling, impromptu speaking. However, if you want magic to happen, you want to combine all of the five ways.