Key Body Language Tips of Public Speaking
Date: September 22, 2015
When you’re on stage communicating with strangers about a subject you’re passionate about, you can’t just use your words to move them, but your body language too.
The way you move and present yourself is a physical message. Those messages you send to the audience need to be a true reflection of how you feel – confident, passionate, understanding and professional. Not nervous, unprepared and awkward.
As a public speaker, you have to bring your listeners in to your world, and, no matter its virtue, just writing a script won’t cut it.
Connect with everyone in the room. Eye contact is the best way to draw people in. Naturally, you become interested because you are the centre of their attention. We’ve all been in situations where people have been talking to the floor, instead of you.
Conversely, those who look at you when they’re talking appear confident and their message is directed to you personally, no-one else. Use this trick when you’re speaking to a crowd.
Use notes to a minimum so you’re not staring at paper for half of the performance. If you must use them, draw images and words to remind you, not full sentences. They’re there to guide you when you need it – so don’t depend on them.
Make everyone in the room feel like you’re talking just to them by scanning the room regularly and looking at each individual for a couple of seconds.
Slouching on stage makes you look unconfident and amateur. Stand tall. Be proud of yourself. This is your moment. People are here for you. Shoulders back and relaxed and chest high are proven ways to make you look confident (even if you might not feel like it!)
Don’t move back on forth on stage and fiddle with your clothes. Stay in one spot at a time and move once you’ve made one point. This helps to capture the audience in the moment.
If you drop your shoulders and head, that tells them you don’t know what you’re doing, like you don’t deserve to be there… but you do!
Faking confidence and happiness is hard when you don’t feel it. We can sense when a friend is unhappy by their energy and presence, even if they’re smiling and laughing. Spend time mastering your craft and working with like-minded people to build your confidence.
Believe in what you’re saying and feel assured that it’s valuable. Your messages should be clear and your body language should resemble your emotions. If you look uncomfortable whilst sharing a part of your life with your listeners, then they will feel uncomfortable too.
Before your big day, record yourself talking and examine your body language. You want to look natural, but not sloppy. Don’t be so focused on what your hands are doing that ever movement looks rehearsed. Use your hands to express yourself, not to make everyone dizzy.
You’ll be surprised at how much you’re unaware of. You’ll notice that you move your hands a lot, you don’t smile, you look tense or you sway from side to side. It’s good to pick up on this before the performance, rather than waiting for the audience to see them.
Spend time practicing. Record yourself again and work on what you can improve. Only then will you make a positive change.