Original Post by Chelsea Mize
When it comes to presentations, you communicate as much through what you don’t say as you do through what you do say. In fact, the single most impactful factor when giving a presentation is the non-verbal cues you communicate to your audience. Body language accounts for 55% of the total influence of a presenter.
It seems wasteful to spend so much time preparing for a presentation, only to have your argument fall flat due to nervous, distracting body language. Learn how to convey confidence with these 7 presentation body language tips and every presentation you give is sure to be a homerun.
1.) Make Eye Contact
The negative impact of a lack of eye contact with your audience is twofold: avoiding eye contact can fuel inattention in your audience while also giving the impression that you aren’t confident in what you have to say. Make eye contact with various members of your audience as you speak, and they will be more engaged with your words.
2.) Move Around
While you don’t want to distract your audience with excessive motion, too much rigidity can be off-putting. Don’t be afraid to move around; take charge of the room and work the space you’re given. Using open gestures and walking around as you address the audience encourages participation and makes your audience feel included.
3.) Modulate the Tempo of Your Voice
If you talk too slowly, you risk boring your audience. If you talk too quickly, you can interfere with your audience’s ability to comprehend your speech and understand your points. Though it can be easy to let your nerves modify your speaking tempo, make a concerted effort to speak at a medium tempo. That way, your audience will have time to digest your words and fully internalize your argument.
When you’re hyper-focused on delivering a stellar presentation, it’s easy to let your facial expressions fall by the wayside. However, it’s important to remember to smile, as smiling makes your audience feel comfortable and more willing to listen to what you have to say.
5.) Don’t Fidget
Speaking as a fellow fidgeter, I know that nervous fidgeting is a hard habit to break. When you heart’s racing and your palms are sweating, fidgeting is second nature. But fidgeting makes you appear unsure of yourself, and the last thing you want to do during a presentation is distract your audience (and underscore your well-researched points) with your nervous behavior. Make a point to stand still, and, when you do move, make sure your movements are precise and confident.
If you’re tense, your audience will feel it. A rigid stance conveys nervousness and a lack of confidence. When you feel the nerves getting to you, just take a deep breath and open up your posture by pressing back your shoulders and straightening your spine. Strong, open posture will help boost your confidence while soothing your nervousness.
7.) Emphasize Important Points with Your Eyes & Your Hands
When you want your audience to pay attention to a particular point you’re making, draw their focus in with both physical gestures and eye contact. If there’s a particular point onscreen that you want to emphasize, point to the text with your finger and follow your physical movement with your eyes. The audience will look where you look and take a vested interest in the point you’re highlighting.
When you’re giving a presentation, your body language should help engage and convince your audience, not distract them from what you have to say. With these tips and a little confidence, you can deliver a captivating presentation that keeps your audience interested every time.