November 19, 2020
We often spend hours laboring over what we are going to say or finetuning the words in our presentations. While planning and reviewing our content are always important, verbal communication isn’t the only thing that matters. The feelings and reactions your body conveys through facial expressions, gestures and body movements, vocal tone and volume are another form of language that is just as important as spoken words.
Body language is everyone’s second language. Research indicates that 93 percent of communication is non-verbal. The eyes communicate more than any other part of your anatomy. Raised eyebrows, rolled eyes and a facial frown are all elements of body language.
What Body Language Are You Communicating?
A few years ago, I coached a leader who was preparing for a very important presentation to C-suite executives. It was clear he was nervous about the presentation, and I asked him to do a quick run through. He began the presentation with, “I’m excited to be here to present….” But he didn’t look excited at all. In fact, his face didn’t communicate an ounce of excitement and his hands were anchored in his pants pockets as he rocked back and forth from heel to toe. Needless to say, we had a lot of work to do.
I initially had him demonstrate his excitement by practicing smiling. We later focused on body language including hand gestures and natural movement techniques.
Most of the time we are unaware of our body language. For instance, while waiting for someone you are meeting with to discuss an important issue, you may unconsciously start tapping your foot or involuntarily shaking your leg. Or, once the meeting begins you may pick up on the person’s crossed arms or averted gaze.
How can we adjust our own body language to appear more positive and engaging? Below are five tips to help you.
From a personal branding perspective, being a good presenter can have a significant impact on your executive presence and career. Any person who wants to move up, should master these five tips and sharpen their overall communications skills.