I recently attended an all-day seminar featuring Traci Brown, a body language expert. It got me thinking about how I connect my body language and my words to convey a positive message to my clients, colleagues and friends.
If our words and movements are not congruent, the audience will have a feeling of unrest. The bottom line is, the body doesn’t lie. By becoming a master of our body language we will improve the connections we make with our listeners and allow them to comfortably discover the intended message.
One of the most powerful aspects of using body language correctly is that it gives us a variety of ways to re-engage the audience. Let’s take a look at some of the basic techniques that we can implement in our communication encounters.
Intentional Movement connects our motion to our words so our body language is supporting our delivery. It shows the audience that you are invested and passionate about your content. Use the stage space that is rightfully yours to deliver your message with confidence.
An example of this might be sharing a story while standing in one place and before you deliver the critical information: take a few steps, reposition yourself, pause and then execute the most important message.
Bonus: If you are presenting on stage and using a screen, position the screen to the left or right. You, as the speaker, want to command the front and center real estate.
Which direction should you move and why?
Forward is an aggressive movement.
- When partnered with powerful words and a loud voice, it can be very effective.
- “The rollercoaster PLUNGED down the track and banked into the first turn…”
Backwards is submissive.
- Combining this movement with a soft voice or a whisper is very impactful.
- Many speakers “retreat” from the audience if they are nervous. This is a submissive movement that has a negative impact on the audience.
Side to Side can be used to emphasize a linear sequence.
- Always move in the direction the audience reads (left to right) and mirror image them. This allows the audience to comfortably follow your ascending information.
- Point #1 – Presenter stands on the far RIGHT of the stage and delivers the least important point
- Point #2 – Take one step to the LEFT….deliver
- Point #3 – Another step to the LEFT….deliver
- Point #4 – Position yourself for the final, most important message to the far left of the stage…deliver
When movement is combined with voice inflection you can re-enlist the attention of you audience often and effectively.
Eye focus creates credibility and trust. Without it, you will lose your audience attention quickly and transmit a lack of sincerity.
When speaking to a group, find the friendly faces in the audience and use Eye Connection: One person to the right at 2 o’clock, one in the middle / center and one to the left at 11 o’clock. The individual that is smiling and nodding will boost your confidence and unknowingly encourage the other attendees to engage. Even though you are looking at the same 2-3 people, the rest of the audience believes you are speaking to them.
The Oscillating Fan can be a distraction for everyone. A constant shifting and darting of the eyes creates distrust. It is often combined with rotational body movements. This is a body language that can derail your credibility.
We can use gestures to emphasize a point or embrace emotion by opening up our body language. Are you a pointer, a palms down or a palms up presenter? Palms up and open elevates confidence AND makes the audience feel at ease.
Allan Pease presents one of my favorite TEDx Talks, Body Language, the Power is in the Palm of Your Hands.
Synchronizing your body language with other aspects of communication is a critical aspect to presentation success. By arming yourself with powerful and productive body language, you can transform communication chaos into profit.
Copyright 2019 Lisa Copeland. All rights reserved.