Using body language

This month "Tips for Training Success" discusses how you can use body language to make your trainings more effective.
Published: Wednesday, August 01, 2007

At every moment of your waking life, you are sending out nonverbal signals about your feelings and intentions. It’s possible to use this body language in a presentation to help reinforce your message. Keep an open posture at all times, avoiding crossing your arms or creating a barrier between you and the audience. Use hand gestures selectively for emphasis, but don’t gesture so much with your hands become a distraction. When relaxed, your body language will reinforce your message naturally, but using the appropriate gestures can help you disguise your nerves.

Remember the following tips:

  • Eye contact establishes positive rapport with your audience
  • Make eye contact with somebody in the audience at every available opportunity
  • Relaxed body language conveys confidence
  • An open jacket presents an image of honesty
  • Open hand gestures emphasize key points
  • Sharing a relevant anecdote will put you at ease when speaking

Presentation Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Do use simple, concise language whenever possible for clarity
  • Do use eye contact to obtain feedback from the audience. Their body language will reveal their reactions to your presentation
  • Do keep pauses specific and emphatic. Use them to show your audience to absorb what you say
  • Don’t  apologize for your lack of speaking experience
  • Don’t mumble or hesitate. If you lose your place, stay calm until you find it
  • Don’t drop your voice at the end of each sentence. It will sound as if you are not sure of what you are saying

Finally, use the 3 Es in your presentation. Every presentation has three essential objectives. The first aim is to educate: the audience should learn something from your speech. The second is is to entertain: the audience should enjoy your presentation. The final element is to explain: all parts of your speech should be clear to your audience. Remember to enjoy each presentation.

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