Body language communicates at least as much as words.
Even when you are not speaking, even before you start speaking, your body is
communicating to your audience.
Actors use body language very effectively. They cannot
act without body language. Every time you watch a film on television or in the
cinema, you are watching actors using body language to convey a particular
character, an emotion, a feeling, a situation.
So look on body language as a
positive, powerful tool to help you in your mission.
· First of all, your
appearance (clothes, hair etc)! It is essential that you dress
appropriately and have well-groomed hair. Your audience will be distracted if
your clothes are sloppy or flashy.
· Smile! When
you enter, or as you are being introduced, smile warmly. Not too much! It
should be a warm and sincere smile. You may feel nervous at this time. But this
is when the audience is assessing and analysing you. So stand erect and remain
· Do not lean on the
podium or table. Leaning on a support suggests to your audience that
you are weak or nervous.
· Continue to smile
slightly at the beginning of your presentation. Then become gradually a
little more serious as you tell your audience what you are going to
· Do not point your
finger at the audience. This can seem very aggressive. If you want to
use your hands, show your open palms with your hands spread wide. This is
generally an appealing, positive gesture.
· Use occasional arm
movements to underline important points. If you wave your arms around
all the time, you will simply distract your audience. You will not communicate
your real message. But the occasional arm movement can be useful in stressing
· Look at your audience. Maintain
eye contact. Make eye contact with every person in the room. Do not
look only at one person. Look at each person individually, as though you are
talking to that person as an individual. Would you buy a car from a car
salesman who refused to look at you when talking to you?
· Do not walk around too
much. It may make you feel better to walk up and down like a lion in a
cage, but it is distracting for your audience. However, you can certainly walk
a little, change your position occasionally, perhaps to make an important point
or just to add variety to your presentation.
· Use your head! Movements
of your head and expressions of your face can add weight to what your words are
saying. When making a negative point, you can shake your head from side to
side. When making a positive point, you can nod your head up and down. You can
raise your eyebrows, for example, or remove your glasses for special effect or
to underline a point.
· Control your voice! Speak
slowly and clearly. To underline a special point, go even more slowly. Repeat a
sentence if it is important. That's right. Repeat a sentence if it is
important. You can also say the same thing again in a different way. Let your
voice go up and down in volume (speak loudly, then quietly). And - sometimes -
you can just stop speaking completely. Say nothing for a short time. A silent
pause is a very powerful way of communicating.