Are you conveying the message you want?
What you say when giving a presentation is important. But if you want to deliver something meaningful and memorable, it’s important to focus on your body language, too.
Many people don’t know what to do with their hands, how to stand, or what facial expressions to make when addressing an audience.
Using the wrong gestures can take away from your presentation. Conversely, using the right ones can make what you say more powerful.
Consider these 7 body language tips the next time you present. Make adjustments as needed, according to your unique situation.
1. Before you begin
You make an impression the moment an audience views you, which includes the time spent preparing as people file into the room.
Sometimes, no one will see you going over your script or gulping a quick cup of Java with a nervous expression on your face. On other occasions, though, you will be visible.
The good news is, it’s easy to connect with a few people before your talk starts and doing so can boost your confidence.
If you are in the same place as members of the public, gain eye contact and flash them a big smile. Both you and they will feel more comfortable.
2. Making an entrance
Have you been to talks where speakers shuffle into a room, look at their notes and fumble for a few moments before interacting with the audience?
The mood takes a nosedive, and everyone thinks they will be bored witless.
It’s better to enter the room with your head up, as though you’re looking through a window higher than eye level. Cast your eyes across the sea of people and smile.
Even if you’re nervous, act as though you’re confident and your behavior will influence your frame of mind. Imagine you’re walking into a good friend’s house on their birthday, and you’re eager to present a bouquet.
If you are fearful as you take up your position in front of the audience, make-believe you know every person there, and they are great friends who support you.
If possible, don’t stand behind a podium; doing so makes you look defensive and puts a barrier between you and your audience.
Stand in the stage’s middle, toward the front, and lift your arms up from your sides, palms raised to the ceiling for two seconds as you introduce yourself. This open-gesture will help others see you as an honest, humble, and friendly person.
4. How to stand
Stand with your legs apart rather than so straight that your knees touch. If you are tense, take a deep breath in, and as you breathe out, drop your shoulders.
Keep your head up, and speak to the middle section of the audience, but now and then address a separate section of the public.
You need not follow a sequence; just get in the habit of including everyone, without focusing on individuals. Moving stops you tensing up and courting everyone makes them feel involved. As a bonus, they’ll warm to you and find you likable.
5. Hand gestures
Use your hands as descriptive tools to help you get your message across. For instance, spreading both hands apart can show size or time and holding one hand on your heart shows what you’re saying is profound.
Studies show doing so is likely to make your audience find what you say engaging. Make gestures higher than your waistline and movement intuitive.
6. Facial expressions
Charismatic facial expressions stem from feeling what you’re saying rather than just reciting a speech.
Think about what your words mean to you and how enthusiastic you are about the topic you’re covering. Focusing on your passion for the subject will also help you feel calm.
The way a talk ends is almost as important as the beginning since people remember the moment. Don’t be nervous; this is your chance to leave a terrific impression.
End your talk like it began, by smiling and using an open hand gesture as you thank people for listening. Only this time, extend your hands out to the audience as you express your gratitude for their presence.
When you’re speaking in front of an audience, they will appreciate you adopting the body language of empowerment.
Using the tips provided, you can create a friendly atmosphere, get audiences to like you, and ease the butterflies in your stomach.