So you’ve been given the chance to talk to the big people. Or maybe to important customers. Or maybe just to a group of new hires, it doesn’t really matter — you can blow any of these opportunities if you aren’t aware of what your body is saying. In fact, in certain circumstances, if you don’t really believe what you are talking about, your audience will know it because your body languagewill be screaming “don’t believe me — I don’t believe what I’m telling you right now!” In order to avoid getting drowned out by yourself, make sure that you listen to what your body is saying.
We’ve all heard the expression “Appearance matters”. Well guess what, it really does. Thanks to about 50,000 years of evolution all of us have developed an acute ability to size someone up before they say a single word. Guess what: when you take the stage to start a talk to a group, they have already formed an initial opinion of you. As you start to talk you will either confirm or refute this impression. So let’s talk about what you need to do to make your body talk a powerful part of your communication skills:
- Stand Up Straight Young Man (or Woman)! This is the simplest thing to do — stand up straight and adopt a stance that exudes confidence, power, and energy no matter how you are currently feeling. If you look like you are in control, then everyone will believe that you are.
- No Chicken Dancing! Our arms and hands are amazing parts of our bodies. However, during a presentation if we are not careful they can put on a show all by themselves and that will end up distracting everyone who is watching us. The right thing to do is to keep them loosely dangling by our sides. Note that although this sounds simple, it is sometimes the hardest thing in the world to do!
- Turn Off The X-Ray Vision: Eye contact is an important part of any presentation. Its how you make contact with the audience and it can be a very powerful tool. However, avoiding looking at people in the audience or, even worse, staring down specific audience members can cause onlookers to become completely distracted and forget to pay attention to what you have to say.
There’s a lot more to understanding what your body is saying. Your goal should be to make sure that your audience is not getting mixed messages from what you say and what your body is saying. If done correctly, your body language can help turn you into a powerful communicator.