Eye Level

On our return flight from Maui, the attendant Joel told Deborah "Actually, our wi-fi is a little spotty." He had knelt down and was speaking to her at eye level. When asked why, Joel told us this came from his flight attendant training. He said passengers can feel "talked down to" when someone towers over them, so attendants kneel to level the playing field.

The same concept is in play when you present, train, or pitch. You want to minimize the "us vs them" feeling, while still establishing authority. Whenever possible, begin by standing-- unless you are in a tiny space. The formality of standing exhibits respect for your audience and emphasizes the importance of your message.

But after the opening, and once you have established the agenda, sit down. This gesture indicates the desire to be collaborative. If appropriate, roll up your sleeves or remove your suit jacket. Match tone and behavior to your desired outcome. Leveraging physical signals gives you an enormous advantage.

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