Using body language

Published: Wednesday, August 01, 2007

This month “Tips for Training Success” discusses how you can use body language to make your trainings more effective.

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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