Communication begins even before you open your mouth. The Audience’s first impression of you is your posture and your position. At every stage in the presentation, your body language should be in congruence to the message you are delivering.
Here are three points to keep in mind while you craft your body language to impress an audience:
1. Position and posture matter.
2. Gestures strengthen your message.
3. Be mindful of the audience’s body language.
Position and Posture matter: Seasoned presenters master the use of stage space. A speaker’s position in the room matters. Care should be taken to stand centered in the room and facing the audience. Also, do not position yourself in front of a distraction, like a window or a strong light source. Moving around the space breeds comfort and the audience sees it in you. Movement around space can also be used for transitions in your speech, and when you want to emphasize a point, step closer to the audience.
Attention should be given to the posture too. Stand straight with your shoulders relaxed, feet shoulder-width apart. Avoid slouching; keep your body open. Also, avoid gestures that send a negative message. Like, hands on the hips send a message of being overbearing and powerful. Remember, Posture and position may not feel comfortable at times, but it looks comfortable to the audience.
Gestures strengthen your message: Use your whole body to emphasize your words. Varying gestures by using head, arms and hands keep the interest of the audience.
Hand gestures are the most visible to the audience, so use it effectively, but not extensively to the point where the message you are conveying could be overlooked. Stretch your arms away from your body and sway the hands. While pointing to the audience, do it with your palms up. Never point fingers at your audience as it displays arrogance and disrespect.
Use positive gestures, like the ‘give’ gesture, to place facts and opinions and the ‘chop’ gesture to emphasize on specific points. If visual aids are being used, look at the data being shown, the audience will follow your eyes and hands. Most importantly, move around the room to make your speech more dynamic.
Be mindful of the audience’s body language: Even Though you are the speaker, the audience is the hero. Be mindful of their body language by enhancing your observational skills. Are they slouched back, bored? Are they stealing glances at their phones?
It’s the duty of the speaker to make the audience feel comfortable and at ease, a smile goes a long way at that. Use a range of vocal variety and instill emotions in the audience using humor, storytelling or astounding factual statements. If all fails, distract the audience by surprising them with a question or an out-of-place action.
Always remember that the audience is the hero, and it is their journey the speaker is a part of. To make sure they take back your message as they lead on their journey, you need to deliver the message effectively, and body language is your superpower at that. So Stand strong, gesture effectively and mind your audience.