While communicating, nonverbal communication is equally important to verbal communication. Imagine a situation where you giving your promotion news to your family with a sad face or your layoff news to your colleague with a happy face. Will, they be able to correlate with your feelings and connect with you? Will they be convinced on what you want to communicate to them? Definitely not. It’s really important that your words are supported by your gesture and posture so as to have an effective communication.
Certain kind of nonverbal communication can actually lead you to crack the deal and make your way to success. One of them is a “confident body language”. A confident body language can speak and convince much more than the words.
According to an article published in Harvard Business Review a few months back, HBR made a study of the body language during the presentation of a start pitch contest, Vienna, where 2500 entrepreneurs were competing to win funding. As per their assessment, people scored points for positive body language such as smiling, maintaining eye contact, and persuasive gesture while they lost points on negative signals like fidgeting, stiff hand movement, averted eyes etc.
Here in this article, I will be mentioning about few of the postures and gestures which will make you look more confident while presentation.
1. Be ready with your stuff
Before giving the presentation, you must be well prepared with the plan and execution of how you are going to present. You must know what you want to talk about. Go into details and try fixing up a certain time being spend upon each slide.
2. Rehearse well
It’s advisable to go for a dummy presentation as into prepare yourself. You can visualize the stage and audience and rehearse else you can start rehearsing in front of a mirror. This will give you more confidence to face the stage and the audience.
3. Use the space around you
While giving a presentation, use the stage. It will help you project your expertise in the subject matter. Try to avoid the signals like standing with your feet together, not allowing many hands and leg movements, hiding behind the podium as these signs will indicate your nervousness while presenting.
A smile can actually reduce your anxiety and can convey your audience that you are at ease and welcoming. The smile will help you look confident and knowledgeable.
5. No Fidgeting, please
There are times when you would feel nervous while giving a presentation, but no need to showcase it. Trust me you will lose out your audience. Shuffling back and forth, nail-biting, clearing your throat etc will just showcase your nervousness. Take a slow and deep breath to relax. Keep looking at the audience and your fear of facing them will disappear.
6. Stand firm
How you are standing before your audience will reflect your mindset. Standing to keep your feel closed and together will showcase your uneasiness at the stage. Always stand wide stance i.e. your feet apart and firm. This position reflects that you know what you are talking about and you are in control.
7. Maintain eye contact
Please do not keep staring at the ceiling, or at your foot or at the notes you have prepared. This is a negative signal you will be giving to your audience. Keeping eye contact makes you more trustworthy, confident in front of your audience and helps you gaining their attention as well. While presenting, you should look into the eyes of someone for 4-5 seconds and then move to another.
8. Vary the pitch and speed
A monotonous tone with same speed and volume is enough to create boredom for you whatever be your content is. High-low variations in your pitch, using different tones held the interest of your audience. You can imagine a situation where you are talking to a friend and practice your pitch and tone variations that way.
9. Maintain the pace
Speaking too fast or too slow might lead you to lose the interest of your audience. Too fast a speed and they might be able to understand and too low a pace and they will get bored. It’s very necessary to maintain the pace while you are addressing your audience.
10. Hand Gesture
Big and wide hand movements while presenting will leave your audience feeling untrustworthy. Your hand movements should be in form on “the Clinton box” i.e. imagine a box in front of your chest and keep your hand movement confined to that while talking.
11. Clasp Hands
Clasp hands i.e putting your hand in pyramid structure shows your relaxed posture along with confidence. The posture reflects “you know what you are talking about”
12. Proper usage of palms
Palms open and upward reflect openness. This gesture shows you are really keen to connect with people. This Posture also reflects that you are encouraging the audience to participate. Palms down, facing towards the floor reflects that you want to pacify the crowd and make them calm down.
Best way to improve the body language while giving the presentation is to record your presentation and relook into it. Mute the voice and than again relook it. You will understand which posture of yours is giving a positive signal and which one is giving the negative signal.