Managing body language when presenting

A classic statistic for the effectiveness of spoken communications is from Albert Mehrabian. He suggests when communicating:

  • 7 per cent of meaning is in the words that are spoken
  • 38 per cent of meaning is paralinguistic (the way that the words are said)
  • While a massive 55 per cent of meaning is in facial expression or other physiology

With this in mind, when Presenting it is important to manage the non verbal communications to ensure effective delivery.

The following are 10 top tips on how to manage the non-verbal communications:

  1. Smile, and look as though you are enjoying yourself! If you are looking uncomfortable, they will feel the same.
  2. Wherever possible stand, rather than sit down.
  3. Stand tall. Speak out directly to the audience.
  4. Dress to suit the occasion. For ‘business type’ presentations be ‘extra smart’. If you feel smart, you will be more confident.
  5. Empty your pocket of things that ‘rattle’. e.g. key rings, coins etc.
  6. Never make a presentation with hands in pockets
  7. Beware of mannerisms, such as (stroking hair, pacing back and forth, folding arms, fiddling with pens etc.)
  8. Look from one person to another covering all the people in the room to signal that you wish to include them all in what you are saying. This is called ‘The eye-sweep’.
  9. Wherever possible, have no objects between you and the audience, e.g. tables, lectern, exhibits etc.
  10. Don’t be afraid to move about, but do so in a controlled way. It will help to make everyone feel involved

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