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Body language is an important communication factor. When doing a presentation, your facial expression, gestures and other body movements should be consistent with your verbal message to get a positive feedback from your audience.
AND HOW TO FIX THEM
A good presentation can be easily ruined by an unconfident presenter, or someone who is saying one thing with
their mouth, but something entirely else with their body. Though it is heavily debated on how much of
communication is based on non verbal cues, it is a commonly held belief that the nonverbal communication is
responsible most of the delivered message (See : Mehrabian Myth). Here is the most common figures about this:
communication relies on words up to 7%, on sounds up to 38% and on the visual part up to 55%. One thing we
know for sure is that body language is important, and that great live presenters are extremely good at it!
MEHRABIAN’S RULE OF COMMUNICATION
Only use of words Use of tone of voice Use of body language
Clasping your hands, rubbing them together, or
fidgeting with them shows nervousness, and may
give the audience the sense that you are
uncomfortable or do not believe in what you’re
INSTEAD – Try keeping your arms to your side,
and in an open manner. Use your hands to
convey what your mouth is saying through
calculated, concise movement.
Rubbing Hands / Hands in Pocket
Crossing your arms may give the impression that
you are unimpressed by something, or that
something is amiss. It’s a defensive posture that
will put a distance between you and your
INSTEAD – Keep your arms open, and away from
your body, almost like you were are thinking
about giving a big bear hug. This open gesture is
inviting and warm, it will give a sense of peace
and confidence to the audience.
Crossing your arms
Looking at the clock, looking at your feet, or
constantly looking at the screen or your
PowerPoint will look dismissive and
INSTEAD – Try making eye contact with everybody
for a brief few seconds when making a point. You
can make it short but don’t be too quick, stay
sincere when making it. Quickly nodding your
head in assurance will send the message that you
are personally interested in that individuals
grasping of the knowledge you are presenting.
Avoiding Eye Contact
Posture is one of the loudest speaking attributes
within body language. If you are slouching your
back, have your shoulders droop and neck limp, it
will send a weak message that will have your
audience questioning your professionalism.
INSTEAD – Stand straight, with shoulders that are
not rigid and tight, but firm and confident. Keep
your head high and your legs strong underneath
you to deliver your information in a confident
Pacing back and forth and moving your arms and
legs quickly will give off a quirky vibe that does
not fare well when trying to present convincing
INSTEAD – Navigate the room with slow
confidence. It is important to not stay in one
place, so moving throughout the the front, or
even the entire crowd can send a positive
Being the furthest point from your brain, naturally
the legs can be the hardest to control while trying
to concentrate on presenting. Fidgeting with your
legs and constantly readjusting your standing
position will give the audience the feeling that
you’re uncomfortable and restless.
INSTEAD – When standing, stand confidently, but
more so, make calculated and controlled
movement’s towards audience members. Make
every audience member think that you have
practiced these movements before – make them
believe you are a seasoned veteran with where
you move while presenting.
Body language is essential to a good presentation and therefore deserves to be
practiced, as you want to look natural. Don’t be too careful, nor to careless. Try to
approach the situation as a friend who is sharing some information, rather than a
lecturer who is surrounded by a student body. Try to remember all of these tips next
time you present about something – whether it is in a conference room or in your
everyday life – and see how your audience reacts to this: you will be surprised !