Don’t you love TED Talks? Great presenters, great topics, and great tips for everyone who wants to be a better speaker. And now there’s some remarkable research into what makes a TED Talk so successful. I want to share some of the highlights, because it might cause you to rethink your non verbal communication.
Somewhere in the mists of time, someone thought it was a really good idea to write your speech in silence, sweat bullets memorizing it and then read it to the audience – usually with eyes cast down and glued to the script.
All of this behaviour sends signals to the audience that you are nervous, disconnected from them and – perhaps – not worth listening to. Our body language has a profound influence on the audience.
Non verbal communication has more of an impact on speeches and presentations than many of us realize. Recently a human behaviour research lab did an intensive experiment on body language. Their findings centred around Ted Talks.
Here are the highlights:
- Non verbal communication matters a lot. The study found that audience decided whether they liked a TED talk more on body language than on the actual words.
- The more hand gestures the better. People who used fewer hand gestures, score lower on charisma.
- Scripted speeches kill charisma. Scripted speeches are memorized and read, leaving little freedom for variety in tone, pace and pausing. Audiences found these careful presentations boring compared to those with a more spontaneous delivery.
- Smiling makes you look smart. Smiling is still correlated to intelligence.
- You have 7 seconds to make an impression. That’s how quickly your audience forms an impression of you. Actually I disagree. Based on what I’ve observed with audiences, you have 3 second to make an impression. That impression is all based on your body language.
At Podium we encourage speakers to let go of the script and speak more naturally. If you allow your non verbal communication to take the lead, you will connect more strongly with your audience.
And if you speak from the heart, your hands will follow naturally.
Check the short video here to see how our TalkitOut Technique helps you engage audiences with your body language as well as your words.
Halina St James takes the worry out of presentations with her Present Like a Pro video training course. It’s available now from the Podium Coaching online store, together with her popular TalkitOut: From Fears to Cheers e-book and workbook.