Five Body Language Tips for Effective Presentations

You are sitting in a presentation and the speaker doesn’t move…for an hour! Are you engaged in the content? Conversely, your presenter is on the move constantly and it is like watching a tennis match…back and forth, back and forth. Does that get your attention or is it distracting?

Up to 90 percent of communication is judged by one’s physical delivery. If your body language doesn’t align with your spoken content, audiences will remember your delivery style more often than your words.

Over the past thirty years, I’ve discovered five physical actions to avoid when delivering an idea:

1. Looking Down

Looking down while speaking signifies uncertainty with the content. It can also communicate an unwillingness to answer a difficult question. Keep your head up and be confident in what you are presenting. Looking around the room when you are presenting implies you are searching for an answer or don’t know the content. Both are bad signs.

2. Lack of Enthusiasm

You’ve got to enjoy your conversation with a client and their team. Once you’re engaged, they engage. It’s always in that order. Get psyched in the morning with a great song you heard at the gym. Take some strong, deep breaths. Pump yourself up. Do whatever YOU need to do to get excited. Remember…you have heard your presentation many times (because you’ve rehearsed it, right?) but, they haven’t!

3. Non-Words

Nothing communicates tentativeness more that saying “ah or um” throughout a communication. In place of the non-word, put in a pause. You will give your communication more weight. No one wants to sit through a 30 minute soliloquy. A pause will allow them to digest what you are saying. It also gives you time to gauge their reactions by observing THEIR body language and craft your next points accordingly.

4. Being Motionless

Think John Madden delivering a football commentary. He wasn’t perfect but he enjoyed every thought he delivered. Gestures play a part in one’s voice tone. Your hand goes up, your voice goes up. Your hand goes down, your voice goes down. This movement keeps a communication alive and vital.

5. Using Qualifiers

Qualifiers are words we use that dilute the meaning of other words in the same sentence. Words such as think, might, want, hope, like, perhaps, maybe, and suggest weaken a recommendation to a client. “Perhaps our product might help with your situation,” is far less effective than “I recommend our product as a solution to your situation.” As you practice your presentation, note how many of these words creep into your communication. Once you are aware of them, you can work to eliminate them.

People will trust your recommendations when you deliver them with confidence. Your body language won’t lie so, pay attention to what you are saying…even when you aren’t speaking!