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Public Speaking Fundamentals
Illustration by Neil Webb

Developing great body language


From:

Public Speaking Fundamentals

with Laura Bergells

Video: Developing great body language

I get asked about body language quite a bit. Rather than get into the specifics of every possible posture, for the most part you are better off not to thinking about your body language. You don't want to become self-conscious. Instead, practice speaking from a place of confidence. When you emotionally connect with the words you are saying, your body naturally knows what to do. If you are having trouble finding your confidence, I have four other insights for you to help discover more professional body language. First, you will want to adopt a confident posture.

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Public Speaking Fundamentals
1h 4m Appropriate for all Aug 31, 2012

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Develop the skills you need to prepare and deliver an outstanding speech or presentation with our public speaking training. Author Laura Bergells offers practical insights that can help presenters prepare, open, deliver, and close their speeches. Along the way, discover how to project confidence, storyboard a speech, take questions, respond with thoughtful answers, and develop the creative story that adds life to a speech.

Topics include:
  • Identifying your audience
  • Developing credibility
  • Introducing an agenda
  • Exploring five strong opening techniques
  • Developing great body language
  • Understanding room dynamics
  • Handling questions and answers
  • Getting feedback
Subjects:
Business Presentations Business Skills Leadership Management Communication
Author:
Laura Bergells

Developing great body language

I get asked about body language quite a bit. Rather than get into the specifics of every possible posture, for the most part you are better off not to thinking about your body language. You don't want to become self-conscious. Instead, practice speaking from a place of confidence. When you emotionally connect with the words you are saying, your body naturally knows what to do. If you are having trouble finding your confidence, I have four other insights for you to help discover more professional body language. First, you will want to adopt a confident posture.

Stand up straight. Make eye contact with the audience. For an extra boost of confidence, find a few audience members who seem to like you. Look to them for support throughout your presentation. Their positive energy can help you feel more upbeat. Secondly, avoid doing anything with your body that's distracting. With novice speakers, fidgeting is a huge issue. Tugging at your hair, stuffing hands in your pockets, toying with jewelry: all of these behaviors can draw attention away from your message.

Even seasoned speakers can become so comfortable with an audience that we start to get sloppy. As I get older, I notice that I have this annoying tendency to shuffle from one foot to the other instead of standing still. And a colleague of mine has started shoving his hands in his blazer pockets and fumbling with his keys. Young or old, no one is immune from picking up bad habits. It takes awareness, however, to eliminate any distracting habits you may have picked up. Third, record and watch your rehearsals.

When you do this, you'll be the first one to notice anything distracting you might be doing with your body. Whether you are new to speaking or a seasoned pro, get in the habit of recording your rehearsals. And fourth, write believable content. Authentic body language tends to flow from great content. When you feel confident about what you are saying, your body language will reflect that feeling. It will seem more natural and believable. Don't try to adopt specific body postures to accompany your words; it almost always looks forced and unnatural.

Instead, focus on developing terrific presentation content. When you emotionally connect to the words you are saying, your body language becomes more authentic and believable.

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