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  • Writer's pictureAnna Conrad

Beware of These Nervous Signals

Your body is one of your most essential communication tools. Knowing some fundamental body language skills is critical to being an effective speaker.

Try This Experiment

Try this simple experiment: Pretend you're about to discuss a topic you're passionate about. Stand up, and imagine your listeners are watching. Try to persuade them without moving a muscle. You will notice that something is wrong.

As a speaker, you always need a way to express ideas so that they can achieve their full power physically. Of course, your stance, posture, gestures, position, and facial expressions are what body language is all about. You feel the absence as much as your audience when that's missing.

Your expressions must come from your commitment to your ideas. And when nervous and extraneous body language intrudes, the audience will be distracted from the message you are trying to convey. Your audience will pay more attention to the craziness before them than whatever you say.

How to Know What's Natural?

How can you achieve natural physical expression instead? Pay attention to how you move when you speak with colleagues or friends on essential topics. Then, bring that person on stage when you speak in public.

What to Avoid

Make sure to avoid:

1. Pacing. Although motivational speakers love to use this technique to generate excitement, it should be your fascinating idea. Get your body involved when those ideas excite you as you talk about them.

2. Wandering. For audiences to retain your key messages, your movement must be purposeful. Map out where you want to be on stage for each main point. When delivering your most important points, ensure you are closest to the audience.

3. Fidgeting. Random movements may keep listeners fascinated by your perpetual motion machine, but they'll also pull their focus from what you’re saying.

4. Swaying.

5. Stepping back and forth.

6. Looking to your screen for help.

7. Freezing.


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