In this article, I’m going to give you 5 tips to improve your public speaking body language. Highlighting some of the ways you can encourage your audience to like you and want to engage. But also, allowing you to feel more comfortable when speaking in public.
Additionally, these public speaking body language tips will help when having difficult conversations. In your personal life, away from the stage. Whether at home with a family member or at work with a colleague.
Engage your audience and build confidence whilst minimising your fear with good public speaking body language
Only 7% of meaning is communicated through the spoken word and 38% is attributed to your tone of voice. Surprising to some, 55% of communication comes from body language.
1. Get comfortable
When you arrive at the venue, be sure to give yourself plenty of time. Get comfortable with the place where you will be speaking. Take a walk around the building, get to know the room and spend some time on the stage.
If you get the chance then practice your presentation. But most importantly, get familiar with your surroundings. Make sure you know where you will enter and exit. Get used to the size of the stage, visualising where you will walk and stand. Think about where your audience is to be seated and where you will be in relation to them.
Being comfortable will allow you to speak, move and express yourself with ease. Meaning you can concentrate on the delivery of your presentation. Rather than worrying about the unknown.
2. Avoid the podium
If there’s a podium at your disposal then be sure not to lean on, or touch it. You can use it as a place to keep your notes but stand away or to the side, taking a glance when necessary. Standing behind the podium creates a barrier between you and your audience. Shaky and unstable podiums and stands can also lead to embarrassing situations.
If there isn’t an obvious place for your notes then you should find something appropriate to use. Holding a presentation script when nervous can lead to the papers shaking. You also risk dropping them. Either way, it’s something you want to avoid.
To combat this you should locate a table, music stand or book stand which you can use to house your notes whilst you present. It may be the case that you need to ring ahead. Checking what facilities are available, taking your own if necessary.
Another idea is to avoid using large sets of notes when possible. Instead use small, handheld cue cards with a few bullet points on each.
3. Remain open to your audience
When people are nervous they have a tendency to unconsciously comfort themselves. Whether it’s touching their faces, rubbing their arms or crossing them in front of their body. Stay mindful of this and avoid letting your hands and arms wander.
These actions show you’re nervous or fearful. But they can also affect your relationship with your audience. Crossing your arms, for example, creates a barrier between you and them. It is unwelcoming and shuts you off.
4. Don’t close your hands together
You might think that a good way to combat the issue in tip 3 is to clamp your hands together to keep them from wandering. But again, it creates a barrier between you and the audience. This can affect their ability to connect with you. You may also begin to fidget and fumble with your fingers which shows nervousness.
Instead, speak with your hands and use gestures. This will help your audience to engage. It will also make sure your hands are kept busy. You won’t be fidgeting or touching your face and you will seem much more confident.
5. Show your palms
When speaking with your hands be sure to keep them open and show the audience your palms. This creates a feeling of openness which will allow them to connect with you. It shows that you are confident in your ability, you are open to teaching them and you want them to listen.
If you would like to see these tips then be sure to check out my video below
Public Speaking Body Language can have a BIG impact
These public speaking body language tips have shown that you need to be open to, and confident with, your audience. Don’t hide from them behind physical barriers, such as podiums or by unconsciously allowing your body to create them.
Make sure you’re prepared. You have the optimal plan for the size of your notes or script. You know what facilities are on offer and you have given yourself time to get to know the venue, your stage and you have practised.
If you would like further guidance then contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or learn more about my public speaking and confidence courses here