Use Powerful Body Language

12.09.2017 |

Episode #8 of the course Speak like a leader by Mark D’Silva


Welcome to Day 8. In today’s lesson, let’s look at your body language and how you can use it to your advantage when speaking.

While it is important to have a great message, the impact is magnified when you combine this with good body language. Using the right body language can really help you connect with your audience and build credibility.

Body language can be defined as non-verbal communication, where thoughts, intentions, or feelings are expressed by physical behaviors, such as facial expressions, body posture, gestures, eye movement, touch, and use of space.


Negative Body Language

First, let’s review body language that may distract your audience or emit negative signals.

Holding your hands on your hips or behind your back. When you stand with your hands on your hips or behind your back, your audience may perceive you as arrogant or aggressive. Be conscious of where your hands are, and keep them at your side gesturing naturally.

Pointing fingers at the audience. In prehistoric times, when a caveman encountered an enemy, he stabbed him with a spear. More recently, the spear has been replaced by a gun. Pointing a finger may provoke a defensive reaction from your audience.

Prayer stance. Have you seen speakers who hold up their palms when speaking as if seeking alms? Be conscious of this, as the prayer stance is often seen as a sign of weakness.

Pacing restlessly. Some presenters have a habit of pacing up and down as they speak. Pacing the room may cause unnecessary distraction and make it difficult for the audience to concentrate on your message.


How to Use Body Language to Connect

You may consider the below strategies to add impact to your message.

Use gestures to engage, not detract. An important feature of gestures is the use of your hands. Your hands are your tools to naturally convey your message, emphasize a point, express emotion, release tension, and ultimately, engage your audience.

Stand when presenting. Standing to present is generally more persuasive than sitting. When you stand, you are naturally the center of attention. Standing will allow you to gesture better, and with the heightened physicality of your gestures, your voice volume should also increase. This will create a more cohesive delivery, which greatly enhances your command and the impact of your message.

Display confidence from the get-go. Your audience is judging you even before you have uttered a single word. You should walk up to the speaking platform as a positive, confident person. Take your time and center yourself before you commence speaking. Always have a balanced stance with weight evenly distributed when speaking.

Maximize use of the speaking platform. Use the speaking platform to maximize impact. Staying in the one spot is not a good option. Always elect to have a lapel microphone to utilize the platform rather than being stuck behind a lectern. The platform is your domain. Use its breadth and depth to enhance your message.

In tomorrow’s lesson, we’ll look at how showing vulnerability can work to your advantage.

Best regards,

Mark D’Silva


Recommended book

The Art of Public Speaking by Stephen Lucas


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