Many people worry about their body language when presenting.
Clients ask me “what should I do?” What shouldn’t I do? Are there any rules about how I should gesture, and what should I do with my hands?
I would say, there is only ONE rule about body language – and that is – make sure it doesn’t detract from your presentation message.
At the end of the day, if your body language is good, nobody will even notice it, that is how it should be.
If your body language is ‘bad’ or ineffective – ie distracting, then that is all your audience will talk about.
When you think about it, when we are talking in a normal conversation, we’re not concerned about our body language, we move and gesture naturally to support our words.
It should be the same when speaking in public.
If you’re looking for some guidance however, here is body language best practice for speaking in public.
Regarding posture: You should stand with feet shoulder width apart with weight distributed equally on each foot. Your hips should be facing the audience. This is what we call rooted to the ground.
When you move, move with purpose. Eg to go to a flipchart, to move towards the audience to make a point. When in that different place root yourself to the ground again.
However if you are presenting and there is a lot of space around you, make sure you use this space as it will seem odd if you stay ‘rooted to the ground’ in a corner of a large space. Having a sense of proportion is important.
In both types of situations, gesture naturally. It is imperative that your authentic personality comes through; without authenticity you will struggle to connect with your audience.
So there we are –the basic rule about body language when presenting.
As long as you have no distracting mannerisms and you root your self to the ground, you’ll look like a natural presenter.
I would love to know your thoughts on body language in presentations.