Your Body Language Can Make or Break Your Presentation

Source: Unsplash | Teemu Paananen

Actions can speak louder than words, which is why your body language is just as important as your speech and slides when you are delivering a presentation.

Stage presence is about confidence and commanding attention – and body language is essential to this. If you are interested in taking the steps to learn how to create stage presence, the first thing you are going to want to consider is your body language.

The first step is to take some pressure off. Have a presentation design company create your slide deck so that you can focus on your speech delivery and forming better body language habits.

Here are some body language tips to consider when presenting to ensure you are clear and exuding confidence:

Face Your Audience (Not Your Presentation)

If you’re talking to your audience, why are you facing your slides? To be honest, you shouldn’t be reading off of them anyway.

If your back is to your audience, it is harder for them to hear you and it gives the illusion of you blocking them out. Face your audience and speak directly in their direction so that they can hear you speak and see gesticulate.

Use Your Hands (Don’t Cross Your Arms)

Not moving your hands or crossing your arms can make it seem that you are unenthusiastic, uninterested or nervous.

Lifehack explains that crossing your arms is a “defensive posture” that can distance you from the audience you want to connect with. Keep your arms open so that you can use your hands while you speak. That said, when you use your hands, use smaller gestures that aren’t distracting.

Stand Up Straight (Don’t Slouch)

Standing up straight is a sign of strength, confidence and professionalism. Slouching, on the other hand, can make you appear uninterested, nervous, not confident and unprofessional.

According to HubSpot, when you stand up straight and open your arms and chest, it makes it easier to breathe. This will help you to both relax and speak clearly.

Use the Space (Don’t Confine Yourself)

The best part of going to a concert is seeing your favourite musician engage with the crowd by going to different ends of their stage. The same thing rings true when you’re delivering a presentation.

That said, moving around and pacing can be distracting – so when you move, move with purpose. Move closer to the audience to create a sense of intimacy. To avoid walking aimlessly, consider your stage space before your speech. Map out parts of the stage you want to hit at specific points in your presentation.

Make Eye Contact (With Everyone)

Failing to make eye contact with your audience by staring at the back of the room is another action that can make you seem distanced. When you give a presentation, you want every person in the room to feel connected to you and willing to listen to what you are saying. To do this, you need to form a connection. The best way to do this is to make eye contact for brief moments with different people in the audience.

Be Expressive (But Use Positive Facial Expressions)

Being expressive throughout your presentation is important, but refrain from using negative expressions like grimacing, crinkling your nose or furrowing your forehead. This can make you look stressed or upset. Instead, smile subtly, raise your eyebrows and nod for effect.

According to Entrepreneur, tilting your head to the side is a subtle movement that actually conveys that you are interested and inquisitive. This is subtle enough to incite engagement but not be distracting – and that’s the exact effect you want your body language to have when presenting.

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