Your body language is constantly speaking for you – even when you are silent, you are communicating. Body language can either help get your message across clearly or send the wrong message entirely. Ensuring your nonverbal communication is congruent is your key to success.
Audiences process information in three ways: body language, tone of voice and words. When these mediums are all working together you are congruent. If your language is congruent with your message, you’re likely to exude confidence and be much more successful.
Stance: assuming a correct posture will enhance your positive body language and support your breathing. This will help you be calmer and more relaxed.
- Stand with feet side by side, a comfortable shoulder width apart
- Push your sternum out a little and keep your shoulders soft
- Slightly tuck in our chin parallel to the floor
- Make your hips squared and lean forward ever so slightly
- Keep your gaze steady forward and begin to breath deeply
Facial Expression: the face is the most expressive part of the body so if you are aiming to motivate and inspire your audience, it starts with that engaging facial expression.
- Enter the stage with a genuine smile
- Keep your face relaxed with your gaze steady
- You want to look engaged and energized
Eye Contact: making and maintaining eye contact is imperative to communication.
- Use the ‘two-second’ rule by making eye contact with each member of your audience
- For small audiences, look at each member. For large audiences, look at sections of people
- Analyze your audience and keep their comfort in mind when looking directly at them
Gestures: let your gestures flow from your words. Take time to cultivate awareness of what your hands are doing while you speak.
- Keep your audience focused on you, the speaker, and your message. So keep moving in support of what you are saying
- Newscasters place their arms at their sides with their thumb and finger touching
- Using a fist is a very powerful gesture. It indicates strong power and passion and may also be used as a threat so use sparingly
- Be careful when pointing with a finger. People don’t respond well to accusation or being singles out
Grooming & Clothing: your personal grooming and clothing are also factors in body language.
- Poor or distracting hygiene and clothing can easily confuse from your message
- Wear professional and appropriate attire, something you can comfortably breathe and move in
In this digital world we don’t always see people face-to-face, so when you have the opportunity to have an audience in front of you, recognize its rarity. Because when you see someone in person their true passion and emotion becomes contagious. Presenting in-person and with congruency is how your message will be successful.