There are many aspects that go into creating a successful presentation, and body language is one the most important. While the content that you present is certainly important, your body language can make all the difference between a successful presentation and a downright disaster. You should never underestimate the importance of body language and the way in which it affects the audience’s perception of you.
What is Body Language?
Body language is the nonverbal communication between you and your audience. It is the combination of facial expressions, gestures, movements, eye contact, and posture. Your body language can tell others what you are thinking and feeling and this can happen both consciously and unconsciously. Body language can also tell an audience how confident, natural, and engaging you are as a speaker, so if you’re trying to win your audience over, correct body language can help.
What your body language says about you:
Your posture can significantly affect your confidence, emotional state, and intent. A speaker that stands tall with their chest open is more likely to appear confident and credible. On the other hand, slouching makes a presentere look unprofessional and far less confident. Proper posture should be open, straight, and relaxed.
Gestures are extremely important because when used correctly, they can add emphasis, elicit feedback, capture attention, and amplify the tone of speech. Proper use of gestures can make a presentation more interesting and engaging. For example, pointing your finger can be a great way to emphasize a point. Conversely, the wrong gestures can ruin any presentation. Presenters that fidget with their hands appear nervous while keeping their hands in their pockets can appear pompous or disengaged.
Moving around the stage or room can help keep your audience’s attention and can make the speaker appear more natural and confident. If you stand behind a podium you will not only bore your audience, but you appear insecure. By claiming the stage and commanding the space around you, you are communicating to your audience that you are a leader.
Your facial expressions are vital to communication and they help you to be a more expressive speaker. Don’t be afraid to smile from time to time and let your emotions be known through your facial expressions. You should also make eye contact with your audience, as this tells them that you are confident. Eye contact also draws the audience in and makes them feel like you are speaking directly to them.