Did you know that your body language often speaks louder than your voice, as you give your presentation? The truth is, no matter how great your speech, if you are motionless, expressionless or monotone, your audience will fade away into their respective to-do lists in a matter of minutes. So, how do we prevent this? We can start with the tips outlined below. Awareness is over half of the battle, so let’s refresh ourselves with a three vital, and proven, body language premises.
1) Let your stance project confidence. You probably heard somebody say it all before. Shoulders back. Stand up straight. Feet positioned to a shoulder-length apart. But why? Well, take a minute to think of the opposite image. Picture yourself with a sagging frame, toes tucked in and shoulders slumped forward. Not a pretty sight, right? Now consider the possible messages delivered within each of the two stances.
2) Maintain an open body. Face your audience as often as possible, even when using slide presentations. Feel free to move around to various locations within your platform. In fact, stepping towards the audience creates an environment of inclusion. One of the easiest ways to remember how to remain open is to “always be ready for a hug.” Think about how that looks. Arms are either down at your sides or spread apart, never crossed or tucked behind your back.
3) Use your hands as presentation tools. It’s a well-known fact that any audience will automatically follow your eyes and hands. Your gestures are vital to maintaining the attention of those listening. Pointing, to illustrate a key point, will magnify the topic. A flourishing wave is impactful. Of course, you may have to practice these movements, so they will not appear awkward.
As you stand up to give your next speech, remember your body will, most likely, do most of the talking! Make sure it says something that is engaging, encouraging and important to both your topic and your personality.