Your Mouth Speaks, Your Body Talks
If you’re just joining us, we’re talking about how to make a speech or other presentation that makes the most sense to the most people and thus gets the best results as you practice the art of persuasion.
How You Carry Yourself Adds Or Subtracts Weight
Posture sends a signal about your confidence. So when you speak, stand tall or not at all. And if you’re sitting, sit on the edge of your chair, and lean forward a bit, to convey your interest in the group. Because if you’re interested in them, they’ll be more interested in you.
Some of the best presenters in the world are highly animated and use their hands. But they don’t use their hands to gesture wildly. They gesture intentionally. They draw pictures, create impressions, highlight the issues at hand. They sort things out. “On the one hand…” and “On the other hand…” to help people arrive at decisions. “Which would you choose?…”
Obviously Bigger Than Life
I did some work in theater many years ago, and learned something about body language on stage. I was taught that if you don’t exagerate it, nobody will notice it. That’s why big gestures are often more powerful than smaller ones, and obvious ones more compelling than subtle ones. Again, like in all things to do with communication skills, a little bit goes a long way. But some gestures add strength and spice to your words.
Don’t Turn Your Back
Keep your body facing your audience whenever possible. Rather than turning away from them, or spinning around, practice turning in the direction in which you intend to move. I was taught to never show my back to an audience.
And that’s where your feet come in. The theater is also where I learned about my feet for the very first time. Set your feet not parallel, but pointing slightly away from each other, with your audience in between. This will make it easier for you to turn, and helps you to keep connected to your audience.
I find it interesting that while the eyes are the windows to the soul, the part of your body with the most sole is your feet. Kick a few comments my way, what do you say?
Rick is a best selling author and the founder of the Art of Change Skills for Life. His book titles include, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to bring out the best in people at their worst, Life by Design and Influence and the Art of Persuasion. These days he is spending quality time away from the spotlight enjoying the company of his wife and practicing his electric guitar.