Did you know that 93% of communication is non-verbal?
Your body language will make or break your speech before a SINGLE word comes out of your mouth!
You see, your audience decides whether they like and trust you within the first few seconds they SEE you on stage.
If your audience perceives you negatively within these first few seconds, you’ll have an extremely hard time winning back their trust and liking, no matter how well you deliver your speech.
This is why expressing good body language on stage is so important for public speakers.
By portraying calm, confident and friendly body language you will instantly build rapport and trust with your audience and keep them deeply engaged in what you’re saying.
Here are 5 tips to improve your body language and make a great first impression with your audience.
Make Eye Contact with Your Audience
Your eyes play a HUGE role in showing your audience that you’re confident and knowledgeable about what you’re saying. It doesn’t matter how big or small your audience is, you always need to make eye contact. The next time you give a speech, scan the room and see if anyone makes eye contact with you. If so, lock eyes with them for a few seconds, but not too long, staring will make the person feel uncomfortable. Also, by making eye contact with someone, you’ll be able to quickly assess how this person is receiving your message. You’ll be able to tell if they’re interested and engaged or bored out of their mind.
Walk Freely Around the Stage
An easy way to claim leadership is by using the stage to your advantage. Nothing shows leadership for a public speaker like one who is comfortable and confident in the spotlight. It’s important to move around freely - not staying in one spot for too long. Move closer to your audience when asking questions, giving personal or emotional stories, and when giving closure. This engages your audience and shows them you are sincere in what you’re saying. It’s also important to be as open as possible on stage. Avoid touching or leaning against the podium (if your stage has one). Podiums create a barrier between you and your audience.
Give a Genuine Smile Throughout Your Speech
Did you know that smiling makes those around you feel happier? It’s true, a genuine smile is contagious. Just think of a time when you came across a stranger who looked unfriendly, then, gave you a nice, warm smile. I bet your perception changed instantly and you smiled right back at them. You can literally FEEL the positive energy radiate off a person when they give you a natural smile. So, if you want to positively impact your audience and come across as more friendly and likable - SMILE throughout your speech.
Practice Good Posture
Did you know that poor posture will repel your audience? Your audience can sense fear and insecurity from the way you hold yourself. If you have poor posture, you are showing your audience that you don’t believe in yourself and don’t want to be up on stage. The good news? Fixing your posture is easy!
Here are some quick tips you can practice right away:
- Stand up tall and straight - stick your chest out, pull your shoulders back and keep your neck straight and in line with your body
- Keep your arms loose and by your side
- Slightly raise your chin and keep your head forward
- Keep your legs shoulder-width apart and point your feet slightly outward
By practicing good posture, you will look and feel more confident and in control on stage
Be Mindful of Your Voice and Tonality
Believe it or not, your voice makes up a key part of your body language. You see, your voice is produced physically. Whenever giving a speech, you want to speak clearly, naturally and confidently. Often, we are not as loud as we think we are.
A good rule to follow is to speak a few levels louder than you normally talk. This also helps reduce mumbling. Make sure you aren’t using filler words like “um” and “ah.” A good way to remove them is by pausing. You can practice the tone and delivery of your speech by recording your voice and listening back to it.
Portraying good body language on stage is essential if you want to be a great public speaker.
By practicing in front of a mirror and being mindful of your body language, you’ll make a great first and lasting impression, naturally, without having to think about it.