Just like most professional public speakers, I have a bad habit of occasionally starting to believe that I know everything that there is to know. When this starts to happen, I know how to solve it: I go read a book.
The Body Language Book
This time around I picked up a copy of Mark Bowden’s book Winning Body Language: Control the Conversation, Command Attention, and Convey the Right Message without Saying a Word that his publisher had sent to me. My expectations were low — I mean, come on, I’ve been doing the talking thing for a long time.
Well, I guess I need to eat some crow here. Mark’s book was a real eye opener. No, I don’t agree with everything that he has to say, but enough of what he says caught my attention that I’m going to change my speaking style based on his recommendations. Now do I have your attention?
What Plane Are You Speaking In?
Mark covers a lot of material in his book, all of it good. However, the part that really caught my attention was when he started talking about what he calls the GesturePlane system.
In a nutshell, what this calls for is for you to take a look at your body you are speaking in a different way. According to Mark you have one plane that slices you through the middle from your head to your toes. You have another plane that cuts you in half right though the belly button.
Once you are aware of these planes, Mark steps you though a discussion of where you should position your body parts relative to each plane while you are speaking.
It’s All About The Hands
Here’s the part where Mark got me: he told me that I’ve been doing the wrong thing with my hands all these years. Mark is strongly against a speaker keeping their hands at their sides when they are not making gestures. Instead, he recommends that they go in front of your belly button.
The reasoning behind all of this takes a bit of time to fully explain. I’ll leave it up to you to get a copy of Mark’s book ($13 over at Amazon) for all of the details. Needless to say he made a believer out of me.
What All Of This Means For You
You would think that all of this body language stuff would come naturally to us, right? Well, it turns out that it’s actually harder to do right than you might think.
There are a lot of books out there that promise to teach you how to use your body language to make your speeches have more impact. I haven’t read them all, but I have read Mark Bowden’s and I think that he’s on to something with his GesturePlane System.
Whenever you learn something new and commit to changing your speaking style based on something that you’ve learned, it can be just a little bit scary. I’ll keep you posted on how my new body language speaking technique goes — let’s see if I can develop winning body language…!
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™
Question For You: What do you do with your hands while you speak — keep them by your sides or do you do something else?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Welcome to the world of business: do you know how to give a speech here? All too often speakers spend their time studying how to connect with customers and community members. That’s all well and good; however, that style of speaking is completely different from the style that you need to use when you are giving a presentation within the company. Do you have the right stuff?