Positive body language in public speaking

  • Have a positive posture. Sit or stand upright, with your shoulders back and your arms unfolded and at your sides or in front of you.
  • Keep your head up. Your head should be upright and level.
  • Practice and perfect your posture. Stand in a relaxed manner, with your weight evenly distributed.
  • Use open hand gestures. Spread your hands apart, in front of you, with your palms facing slightly toward your audience. This indicates a willingness to communicate and to share ideas.
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Communication

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Is the unspoken element of communication that we use to reveal our true feelings and emotions - gestures, facial expressions and posture.

When we are able to "read" these signs, we can use it to our advantage. 

Disinterested interlocutors

Signs of a disengaged, disinterested or unhappy audience:

  • Arms folded in front of the body.
  • Minimal or tense facial expression.
  • Body turned away from you.
  • Eyes downcast, maintaining little contact.

Being aware of these signs can help you to adjust what you say and how you say it, so you can make him feel more at ease and receptive to your viewpoint

Unengaged Audiences

Some signs that people may be bored or disinterested in what you're saying:

  • Sitting slumped, with heads downcast.
  • Gazing at something else, or into space.
  • Fidgeting, picking at clothes, or fiddling with pens and phones.
  • Writing or doodling.

When you notice that, you can re-engage people by asking a direct question, or by inviting people to contribute an idea.

  • Have an open posture. Be relaxed, sit or stand upright and place your hands by your sides. 
  • Use a firm handshake. But don't get carried away - you'll likely come across as rude or aggressive.
  • Maintain good eye contact. Try to hold the other person's gaze for a few seconds at a time. 
  • Avoid touching your face. There's a common perception that people who touch their faces while answering questions are being dishonest.
  • Use mirroring. Subtly mirror the body language of the person you're talking to. This will make him feel more at ease. But don't copy every gesture.
  • Maintain the appearance of calm by keeping your hands still, and by avoiding fidgeting with your hair or touching your face.
  • Look interested. Touching your face or mouth can signal dishonesty. But, it can also demonstrate that you're thinking.

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RELATED IDEAS

Eye signals
  • Eye gaze: Directly eye contact indicates interest and paying attention. Prolonged eye contact can feel threatening.
  • Blinking:  People often blink more rapidly when they are feeling distressed or uncomfortable. 
  • Pupil size: Highly dilated eyes, for example, can indicate that a person is interested or even aroused. 

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IDEAS

Looking Friendly
  • Smile. It is even more important than you think. It's a great way to create trust. We judge people to be more pleasant when we are smiling.
  • Expand. Body movements that go up and out are very open and comforting. Anything that is compressing, like lip compression, is conveying stress.

Contrary to popular belief, body language in the context of public speaking is more than hand and arm gesture.

It means adjusting the way we stand, move and smile to capture and hold the attention of an audience.

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