How To Use Body Language In Your Next Speech

Your body language is a critical part of your next speech
Your body language is a critical part of your next speech Image Credit: susanjanegolding

When we give a speech, we want to find a way to connect with our audience and share the importance of public speaking. In order to make this happen, we need to use all of the tools that are available to us. We understand that this means that our vocal variety, the use of props, and even the pauses that we can work into our speech are critical to allowing us to create a bond with the people in our audience. However, we also need to understand that there is something else that is going on. While we are giving our speech, our body is also giving a speech. We need to find a way to allow our body language to help us deliver our next speech.

What Is Your Body Telling Your Audience?

During your speech, you work very hard to get the right words to come out. You have an idea or a purpose for your speech and you want to convince your audience to either support you or you want to change the way that they think. You have created a speech that you believe will introduce your idea and then lead your audience to your understanding of why what you are saying is important. The good news is that your body wants to tell your audience the same thing.

During your speech, using effective communication is crucial to delivering an engaging speech. As speakers we need to understand that our body language is part of our presentation. The reason that our body language is so important is that it can help to maintain the interest of the audience. If we can master how to get our body to tell our audience the same story that we are trying to tell them verbally, then we will have created a powerful way to get our message across to our audience. The challenge that we are facing is that this is not always an easy thing to do. The good news is that there are three tips that speakers can use in order to get their body to synch up with their words.

Let Your Face Do The Talking For You

When we give a speech, our audience will spend the entire speech staring at us. What they are really looking at is our face. What this means is that in addition to the words that we are saying, we can use our face to also convey messages to our audience. If you think about it, during an average day your face is used to convey lots of things to the people that you are talking with. Just by looking at you people can tell if you are happy, sad, angry or bored. What this means is that even without saying anything, your face is telling the person that you are talking with a story.

During your speech you are going to want to work those facial muscles. Your facial expressions serve to reinforce the emotional tone of your speech. During your speech you can frown to show disappointment, raise your eyebrows to demonstrate surprise and smile broadly to express enthusiasm. Since your audience will be watching your face, this gives you another way to reenforce the words that you are saying. The one thing that you don’t want to do during a speech is to stand there expressionless – you are wasting a great opportunity if you do this.

It’s All About The Gestures

As important as your face is, it’s really only one small part of something that is much bigger – your body. Think about your body: you’ve got two arms, two legs, two hands, two hips, a front and a back. All of these different parts of you can be brought to bear when you are giving a speech. You’ve heard expressions like “put your back into it” and when you are giving a speech these expression apply, When we are talking about doing something during a speech, our body is standing ready to show our audience just exactly what was required in order to do something. We always have to be thinking about what we will be saying and then coming up with ways that we can use our body to make our message that much clearer.

During your speech you can make your gestures consistent with words. Make your gestures match what you are saying – for example, if you are speaking about a plane you saw in the sky, point your arm upward in that direction. If you were talking about digging in the dirt, you can use your entire body to show just how you would go about using a shovel to dig up dirt. The key here is to use your body to do something that your audience will recognize. This will cement what you are saying in their memory as they think back and picture what you were doing when you said it.

During your speech, the stage is your playground. You own the stage while you are speaking and it is up to you to make the most of it. There is no reason, except for a microphone that won’t travel, for you to stand in one spot during a speech. Instead, you will want to incorporate the stage into your speech. Each of the speeches that we give have multiple parts to them. During your speech you can travel to different locations on the stage and deliver part of your speech there. By doing this you’ll teach your audience to understand that you are transitioning from one idea to another as you move.

Make sure that you move around on stage rather than standing stiffly in one spot. However, when you move, do so for a reason: Examples of this are when you walk to the other side of the stage as you transition to a new topic or move toward the audience as you ask a question.

What All Of This Means For You

The goal of any speech that we give is to both capture and then hold on to our audience’s attention while we share the benefits of public speaking. We hope that we’ve been able to construct a speech that will allow us to do this. However, it turns out that we have another tool available to us that can help to make this happen: our body. During our speech our body will be having its own conversation with our audience. We’d like to be able to control what it is saying and make it line up with the speech that we are giving.

While you give your speech, you are going to want to make sure that all of your nonverbal communication is telling your audience the same message as is contained in your speech. Your face is what your audience will be spending most of their time looking at. You will want to use your face to convey what you are feeling in your speech right now: joy, fear, sadness, all of the basic emotions. Speakers have their entire bodies to work with. This means that they need to find ways to include their arms, legs, hands and feet into their next speech. Your entire body can also be used to send a message to your audience. If you move around the stage while you give your speech, you can drive your point home.

When we give a speech, we really don’t have all that much to work with. We hope that our words will have an impact on our audience. However, it turns out that we all have a secret weapon to work with: our bodies. We can use our bodies to empathize our message. If we are successful in doing this, then we can create a speech that will have a real impact on our audience.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: What should we not do with our body during a speech?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I think that we’d all like to think that every time that we take the stage in order to give a speech, everything is going to go perfectly. I mean, we’ve created a speech, we’ve practiced it, and we feel that our audience really wants to hear it, right? Well, that might all be true, but because life is what it is, things can happen as we give a speech that we would all agree turns the speech into a disaster. Since there is really nothing that we can do to prevent something like this from happening, the question that we need to be able to answer is what should we do if disaster strikes?