What does your body say whilst you speak?
Whether talking to camera or before an audience, your adoring public are not just paying attention on what you are saying. Whilst their ears may be engaged their eyes are focused on the image playing out before them.
Your body language is related to gestures, stance and facial expressions. It’s as just as important as the oral language you use as both of these elements compliment each other to successfully engage your audience. Using effective body language projects a strong image of a the Presenter and help to support and understand the message you are trying to get across.
Physical gestures include the movements made with parts of our bodies such as our fingers, hands, arms, legs and head. They can be done voluntarily or involuntarily. Sometimes, when you are in front of the camera or talking to the audience, you may give freedom to your body to make negative gestures you may not even realise you’re doing. It’s not always a problem should you do it in a natural way, but can become an obstacle when your gestures look forced. These may distract your audience and consequently they may misunderstand your message. Keep your hands open and try not to over gesture. Sometimes the greatest way to make an impact is by standing still and using your hands to reinforce important aspects of your presentation.
The stance you adopt in front of an audience has the power to help you connect with them, allowing your spectators to catch the attention and interest of your speech. The way you stand can tell the audience if you are happy, confident, scared or comfortable with the speech. Don’t stop your body if it wants to move around, but remember to also interrupt these movements with stillness. The first thing you should do before commencing a piece to camera or beginning a speech is to anchor yourself on one spot. Your feet should point straight ahead with your back straight and your shoulders open. Take a deep breath and begin…
Your facial expressions refer to every single movement of your eyes, mouth and facial muscles. They’ve got the power to connect straight away with your audience. The most important element in this process is eye contact whether you’re before an audience or talking to camera. If presenting to camera ensure to look directly down the barrel of the lens rather than above or either side of it. If speaking to an audience try making eye contact with some eager listeners as this can provide a confidence boost. If you can successfully deliver this mode of communication it will help you transmit credibility and sincerity. Try “smiling with your eyes” too (also known as “smizing”). There’s nothing better than connecting with an audience through the warmth of your eyes.
When you are presenting, body language becomes an essential tool in helping you connect with your listeners and building credibility. Practice in front of a mirror or get a friend to film you on a camera such as your smartphone. Then you can watch yourself back and see what you may need to improve on.