by Sandra Schrift
Your body language, nonverbal cues, tells a lot about how you perform at a job, career and on stage as a public speaker. Research suggests that nonverbal cues are more important than verbal ones. I came across one study that spoke about “body language comprises 55% of the force of any response, whereas the verbal content only provides 7%, and ‘paralanguage,’ or the intonation, pauses and sighs given when answering or speaking, represents 38% of the emphasis.
Our schools put more emphasis on the spoken word. I suggest you learn to use a few simple tips to accentuate your body language as a public speaker or even interview for a job.
- Always lean forward. You will appear to be an interested listener. Leaning back projects lack of confidence.
- Never look down. Maintain eye control at all times. This creates openness and honesty. As a speaker, face your audience left of center, right of center and center.
- Have a relaxed, open posture with your arms in a comfortable position. Don’t fold your arms – this makes you appear hostile.
- Make sure your facial expressions match your message. If you are speaking about something very sad, don’t smile! However, do smile when you are talking about something upbeat and positive.
- If you want to appear confident and expressive, strive for a posture that is free and natural to your speaking style.
- You can practice your stance by standing with your feet less than shoulder width apart. Stand tall, not slouched.
- AND never put your hands in your pockets. Men often do this and even jingle their change. This is a No, No.
- Want to practice your body language? Use a mirror and better yet, get a friend to take video footage of your talk.
- Need some help? Get a speaker coach . . . like me! Email me at [email protected]
- Finally, don’t overdue your hand gestures. I have seen some speakers who constantly flail their hands around – this is distracting and annoying. If you have a tendency to do this, use a hand-held microphone to keep your hands busy.
© 2007 Sandra Schrift – www.schrift.com
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Sandra Schrift 13 year speaker bureau owner and now career coach to emerging and veteran public speakers who want to “grow” a profitable speaking business. I also work with business professionals and organizations who want to master their presentations.
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