When making a presentation to a client, colleagues or even the boss, have you ever asked yourself: “What do I look like when I present?”
Your body movement during your presentation has the ability to strengthen the impact of your message or it can seriously be a distraction.
One of your goals when presenting is to look so natural with your movements in conjunction with your message so no one even notices that you are using intonation and inflection or body movement as a means of emphasising the points of your speech.
Mannerisms that are distracting include:
Swaying to and fro in front of the audience;
Hanging on to the podium;
Licking your lips or biting your lips;
Fidgeting with clothes, pockets or jewellery;
Fussing with hair;
Bobbing your head; and
Flailing arms at inappropriate times.
The movements you make in your speech should be planned or at least controlled by you. Any movement that is not planned could potentially be distracting.
Many of the above-mentioned mannerisms stem from being nervous about being on stage. Additionally, they may happen because you are not aware you are doing them.
Either way, you will need to minimise and eliminate as many of these movements as possible. Here are six suggestions to help you overcome distracting movements:
Make a video of yourself
Do you even know that you are making these movements?
A video will help you identify which distracting movements you will need to work on eliminating.
Review your video to identify places where you make distracting mannerisms
Make a list of the mannerisms you have and thoughtfully practise your speech without those mannerisms. Re-record yourself and keep reviewing your videos until you are satisfied that all the distracting mannerisms are gone.
Work on feeling comfortable with delivering your speech
You should feel natural as you speak about your topic. You should feel like you are sharing information with a long-time friend.
This will come when you have spent many hours practising, reworking and revising your speech.
This also happens when you speak from your heart and let others know the way you feel about your subject.
Work on eliminating nervousness when delivering your speech
This will occur as you get more familiar with your material. Take the time to focus on delivering your message instead of focusing on the feelings of fear and anxiety.
Review your videos for sections in your speech where you need to add body movements to make it more interesting
Gestures are your travelling visual aids. Let your movements express the way you feel.
Your movements should be natural and work in your favour as you emphasise specific points in your presentation.
Body movements should look natural
You can use facial expressions and always make eye contact with your audience for maximum effect.
Every movement should be planned during your presentation.
You can easily lose your audience with distracting movements because your audience’s focus and attention will be turned to these movements instead of what you have to say.
If you are unable to video yourself, practise in front of the mirror.
Learn to eliminate distracting movements and incorporate movements that add impact to your presentation.