Imagine yourself sitting at one of the most painful presentations you've had to endure. Let's reflect on what made it so excruciating: was it the message? The information? The tone of voice? Whether you recognize it or not, something was off with the presenters' body language. Whether that be eye contact (or lack thereof) or posture, chances are the presenter was not engaging the audience with how they carried themselves. With body language accounting for over 50% of audience perception during a presentation, it is essential for presenters to ensure that the way their body is talking positively. Here are our top 3 tips to ensure your body talk is not only positive, but that is it selling your presentation.
1. Say Cheese Smiles communicate a lot more than we think; they say "I'm excited", "I'm comfortable", "I'm happy to be here", and "What I'm saying is positive". Most of us can agree that these messages are what we want to say about ourselves as presenters. Additionally, people are inclined to smile back when someone smiles at them, which increases their likelihood of engaging in the presentation as a whole. Talk about a win-win!
2. Loosen Up While movement is an important part of presentations (you do not want to be frozen in your spot for an entire 15 minute pitch), the nature of your movement sets a tone for your time under the spotlight. Avoid pacing back and forth or moving stiffly, which communicates anxiety and nervous energy to your audience. Rather try to move naturally, use your hands to easily gesture to certain points, and ease your movements throughout your presentation.
3. Look Here Maintaining eye contact with your audience is key to engaging audience members. Not only does it make audience members feel that you are speaking to them personally, but that your message applies to them specifically as well. An engaged audience is a sign of a brilliant speaker, so try to maintain consistent eye contact with areas of the room (staring at one person/area for 15 minutes can make people a little uncomfortable).