Body language is a kind of nonverbal communication, where thoughts, intentions, or feelings are expressed by physical behaviors, such as facial expressions, your posture, gestures, eye movement, touch and the use of space.
Body language, can be interpreted broadly, instead of having an absolute meaning corresponding with a certain movement.
Body language has a tremendous impact on presentations. Studies have found that one of the huge reasons for the success of TED Talks isn’t the big ideas they share, but the delivery. In other words, it’s the speaker’s charisma, gestures, and rapport with the audience that makes all the difference.
Here are a few examples of poor body language:
- Lack of body language. You’re just standing still
- Remaining frozen behind the podium and not moving around in a natural way
- Distracting habits such as licking lips, shifting weight from leg to leg, or fidgeting, looking above your audience
- Signs of nervousness like shaking, sweating, or shallow breathing
It’s important to understand that you communicate and send a message with both verbal and non-verbal communication. Think of those times that you didn’t verbally interact in a meeting. While you didn’t share a verbal message you likely shared non-verbal communication. I also caution you to ensure that your verbal and non-verbal communication is in sync and you are delivering a cohesive message.
I recommend recording yourself in a meeting and I guarantee that you will be surprised by your body language and the mixed messages you may be sending in a meeting or while giving a presentation. Pay close attention to how you sit/stand, the gestures and facial expressions that you make. Remember you are always presenting and can become a powerful presenter.