Studies show that the majority of what an audience receives from a presentation comes from the nonverbal cues, otherwise known as body language. Improper body movements and posture can change the undertone of your presentation quickly. This miscommunication can give your audience a very different message than what you intended. Much like a car, presentations have lots of different pieces to master in order to make success achievable.
1) Eye Contact – When involved in a conversation with friends, a person can confidently obtain and hold eye contact. Everything changes when the conversation is coming from only one person in front of others watching. A presentation is another version of a conversation, and eye contact is equally important with a larger audience. The audience can tell when you are not looking at them, and you are looking at the back corners of the room or their foreheads. Eye contact compels others to pay attention.
2) Posture – Americans have bad posture. This posture is an awful habit that doesn’t reflect well when giving presentations. You want to pinch your shoulder blades together, open your chest and arms while keeping your back straight. Correcting your posture will make any presenter look and feel more confident. Look at dynamic presenters and leaders, they all have good energy and posture when they speak.
3) Breathe – As you step out on stage, your nerves and adrenaline build up, sometimes causing a presenter to forget to breathe. Some presenters feel like they must rush, so they attempt to spit the whole presentation out in one sentence. Before you say one word, take one deep breath and exhale slowly, this relieves some of the tension and allows you a moment to think about what you’re going to say. After exhaling, speak slowly and annunciate your words. The adrenaline will drop in less than two minutes, and you’ll feel comfortable quickly.
4) Movements – Body movements are unique to each individual, and it is up to you to discover how your body moves. Individuals may be natural swayers, pacers, rockers, or even may cross their arms without realizing it. None of these nervous movements are helpful to your audience receiving your great message. Body movements can be a great thing if they correlate and enhance your verbal presentation. A good way to learn your natural tendencies is to practice in front of people or video your practice. You probably have some tendencies that you’ve never considered (even something obvious like shaking your keys in your pocket.)
Incorporating these four presentation tips will make you a strong presenter, engage your audience, so they get your message, and increase your profitability from presentations.
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