Presenting Effectively : is Body Language Important?
You bet it is! Presenting effectively involves more than just talking to your
audience. Your body language plays an important role in communication. Research
shows that what you say accounts for only about 7% of the effectiveness of your
presentation, the remaining 93% is based on your nonverbal communication, i.e.
your body language.
Body language is how you interact with your audience. It portrays moods and
emotions, and can emphasize or contradict what you say. Like it or not, your
audience will interpret and react on those nonverbal signals during your presentation.
Body language is important in presenting effectively
The way you hold your body communicates a great deal to your audience. If youre
slouching or standing with your arms folded across your chest, you may be
perceived as being uninterested or unapproachable. If on the other hand, you
stand straight, gesture and move around the room, you will be perceived as being
enthusiastic and welcoming. Also, leaning forward slightly when talking to
someone shows you are interested in what the other person is saying.
Try to move naturally. This adds interest and draws attention to the
presentation. Standing frozen at the front of the room or gripping a lectern as if
youre on a white-knuckle ride is distracting. And dont shuffle your feet or pace up and down; it conveys nervousness
and lack of confidence.
Body / voice link
The body and voice are closely linked. Tension, fear and posture all affect the
voice. If your body language is in tune with the words youre saying it will
greatly enhance the overall communication.
Free, easy arm and hand movements are expressive and add personality to your
presentation. Use natural movements to add emphasis to topics. If youre
explaining about a big opportunity, for example, you can emphasize it by using your hands in
a sweeping gesture. By contrast, stiff, unnatural gestures show nervousness and
can distract from your message.
Using props to enhance your presentation can help clarify specific points and
understanding. One of the simplest props is your hands. For example if
you want to highlight three important points, use your hands as a prop and count
out those three important points one-by-one on your figures.
It aint what you say
The best tip I can give for presenting effectively is to video yourself giving a
presentation. Then afterwards analyze you body language to see what went
well and what went not so well. Understanding body language and the different techniques
to enhance your message is one of the most important communication skills you
can learn in presenting effectively.
Perhaps it goes to prove that there is something in the old maxim It aint
what you say, its the way that you say it!
Effective Verbal Communication from
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