There are so many things to remember when it comes to public speaking; prepping material, memorizing it, practicing it and finally presenting it. As if getting mentally stoked for something as terrifying as public speaking wasn’t bad enough, we also have to pay attention to our posture aka: our body language.
We all want the same things – to deliver our speech powerfully and efficiently. We want to rule that podium or stage or space and deliver the message, on point. We also don’t want to look clumsy when we do it; we need to remember to look everyone in the eye, stand up straight, and fiddle with our hands and arms as minimally as possible. But who can remember all of that while we’re shaking in our boots?
One of the easier ways to go about it is to replicate the movements we make in a one-on-one, average conversation. You look more natural and as a result, feel more confident with your delivery.
1. Free your hands: The oldest trick in the book; keep your hands loosey-goosey by your sides. It feels weird and unnatural, but this is where your hands should be the majority of the time – try and stay aware of where they are. If you find yourself clasping them together, try to unclasp and stand how you naturally would.
2. Empty out those suckers: Sometimes we’re so nervous we forget ourselves. Make sure you aren’t carrying anything when you head up to the podium! The only items you should have on you – if you need them – are your notes. Even then, try not to hold onto them for too long – they could turn into a security blanket.
3. Use the space around you: Take command of your space! Use your feet; move around from place to place. Move towards people you’re speaking with. You don’t always have to stay put.
4.Watch videos of yourself, you’ll thank me later: Not everyone has time to practice in front of a video camera, so make sure your speeches are going to be filmed. Eating a bag of nails may seem more appealing to you then watching yourself perform, but you will be able to see what gestures you use repeatedly, if you touch your face, if you play with your hair or clothes, and you get to really see what you look like while you speak. You will become more aware of how you look, and thus will be able to prevent any no-no’s you pick up for the next time!
What are some of your body language guidelines? Email me! At firstname.lastname@example.org