The most powerful way we communicate is not with our words but our body. Body language or non-verbal communication is your gestures, facial expressions, body position and eye movements. Our brains evaluate all these things and come to a conclusion about the speaker in a nano-second.
When you speak, you want your body to say ‘leader, expert, trustworthy, competent’. Here are two tips:
Not rigid but comfortably straight. It’s important that your spine is straight from the top of your head to the bottom of your bottom. It’s a sign of confidence but more than that, standing straight makes sure all your organs are properly aligned. Nothing is compressed or twisted, so your body can work like a well-tuned Ferrari. You can take in lots of oxygen. Oxygen fuels your brain. Oxygen gives you energy, so you’re alert. That means you’ll remember more, react better and feel less nervous.
For these reasons, we recommend that you stand, even when making a boardroom presentation to a small group. In addition to giving you all the advantages above, it’s a subliminal sign of respect.
Watch your eyes.
Your eyes are, as the old saying goes,’windows of the soul’. They will alert the audience to your inner state. If your eyes dart around or constantly look down, the message is nervousness, uncertainly, lack of confidence.
If your eyes are constantly fluttering shut when you speak, it will focus attention on your eyes, not your words. People may feel offended you can’t look them in the eye.
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.