Much of your impact as a speaker depends on your body language. These non-verbal movements can make or break your presentation. Oftentimes presenters focus only on what they are going to say and forget about what they might be saying with their body language. When you are presenting, strong, positive body language is an essential tool for helping you to build rapport and credibility with your audience. When all eyes on are on you it is important to avoid those body language mistakes that can send the wrong message. Here a few body language mistakes that can be fatal when giving a presentation.
Crossing Your Arms
When you cross your arms you are displaying a defensive posture that signals resistance. This creates a distance between you and your audience. It also gives the impression that you are unenthusiastic about your presentation.
One of the most difficult body gestures to control during presentations is hand movements. Fidgeting with your hands can be distracting to your audience and it can cause them to lose attention. When you hide your hands behind your back or place them in your pockets it can display nervousness or insecurity. Clasping your hands or waving them can indicate that you are insecure or unsure about what you are talking about. Inappropriate hand gestures can cause you to lose credibility by giving off the impression that you do not believe in what you are saying.
Avoiding Eye Contact
Presenters often neglect to make eye contact with their audience. They tend to look down at their notes, stare blankly into the back of the room, look down at their feet, or check the time on their watch. Avoiding eye contact makes your presentation seem unprofessional and impersonal. Eye contact is one of the most important elements when it comes to connecting with your audience.
Awkward Body Movements
Swaying back and forth or walking back and forth across the stage can make your audience feel nervous and awkward. It gives the impression that you are nervous or uneasy. You do not want to stand in one place for the duration of your presentation, but your movement should have a purpose. Walk around to captivate audience interest as opposed to moving just to have something to do with your body.
Forgetting to Smile
Unless you are delivering bad news to your audience it is appropriate to smile during your presentation. In fact, smiling will make your audience more receptive and it will show that you are confident, at ease, and enthusiastic about what you are presenting. When speakers forget to smile, they give off a negative vibe and are less likely to make a good impression with their audience.
Body language is one of the most important aspects of giving a dynamic presentation. It is a form of non-verbal communication that will convey a message of either confidence or insecurity to your audience. Avoid these common body language mistakes in order to deliver a great presentation that will wow your audience.