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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.

Presenting effectively

Body language is important in presenting effectively

The way you hold your body communicates a great deal to your audience. If you’re 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 you’re on a white-knuckle ride is distracting. And don’t 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 you’re 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 you’re 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 ain’t 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 ain’t what you say, it’s the way that you say it!”


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Presenting Effectively


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