While a well-designed PowerPoint and professional-looking outfit can make you look more credible, you shouldn’t forget about the signals that you’re sending through your body language. These are actions that you do unconsciously, and if you are not careful, you may accidentally alienate your listeners without even realising it.
How you hold yourself as you speak can affect the audience’s impression of you. Hence, whether you’re speaking at conferences or preparing for negotiations with clients, you’ll want to level up the way you conduct yourself in front of other people. To get you started, here are a few tips on how to improve your body language for a more persuasive presentation:
1. Make Eye Contact with Your Audience
Though the idea of looking someone in the eye can seem nerve-wracking, doing so is a more authoritative and authentic way to communicate. Conversely, avoiding eye contact makes you seem untrustworthy.
Thankfully, you don’t necessarily have to look every single audience member in the eye. You can simply scan the room and focus your eyes on a few people at a time, holding your gaze for a few seconds before moving on to the next person.It is also important to rehearse your verbal presentation so you can look at your audience rather than read from a script. Your visual presentation can have bullet points to remind you of the content to be delivered.
2. Watch Your Head Movement
The way you move your head as you speak can also affect how your audience perceives you. For example, lowering your head is often interpreted as defensive or submissive while raising your head can make you look more confident. However, raising it too high can backfire and make you look arrogant.
For most of your presentation, you’ll want to keep your head still. Nevertheless, a well-timed nod or shake of the head could bolster the strength of your message.
3. Be Aware of Your Facial Expressions
If your facial expressions don’t match your words, you may end up sending mixed signals. Hence, it’s a good idea to practice your presentation in front of a mirror. This can help you become more aware of any unconscious habit or facial twitch that could adversely affect or confuse your audience.
Once you’re on stage, an easy way to help your audience feel more comfortable is to smile as you speak. This simple facial cue allows audiences to feel more comfortable with your presence and become more receptive to what you have to say.
4. Do Your Best Not to Fidget
When you experience some stage fright, you might find yourself tugging at your sleeves or tapping your foot on the floor. However, fidgeting can make you appear unsure of yourself. At the same time, it can be distracting to your audience, which will make it hard for them to focus on what you’re really saying.
To overcome your nervousness, practice as much as you can. When you know your script by heart, the more confident you’ll feel. As a result, you’re less likely to fidget around during your presentation. There are several methods to help improve your gestures. One example is to record yourself while practicing to get a solid visual reference of how you look while presenting.
5. Mind Your Body Posture
Slouching or sitting down gives your audience the impression that you’re disinterested in your topic. Stiff and tense shoulders can indicate that you’re afraid or uncertain.Standing up with your back straight makes you look and feel more confident, however keeping arelaxed posture while you stand is important too as it makes you look more open and welcoming.
Whenever you start to feel nervous, give yourself a moment to pause and take a deep breath. As you exhale, try to regain your posture by straightening your spine and putting your shoulders back – you will feel more self-assured which allows you to convey your message more clearly.
It doesn’t matter if you have the most amazing product or service in the world. It’s still the quality of your presentation that will make or break a sale or a pitch. With these tips, you should be well on your way to mastering body language and becoming a more persuasive presenter.