3 Ways Public Speaking and Body Language Work Together
Public speaking is about more than standing up in front of an audience and reading from note cards. To be an effective public speaker, you have to also be aware of your body language.
Body language is a huge part of the way we communicate and how we’re perceived in conversation. Public speaking is no different.
As a speaker, the way you look will have a great impact on whether your audience actually receives your words or not.
So how do public speaking and body language work together? How can you make sure you’re using body language effectively when you’re talking to a crowd? Let’s look at 3 ways public speaking and body language work together.
1. Micro-Expressions; Body Language
When you first think about public speaking and body language, you might be picturing how to use your hands or how to stand a particular way. While these are important, it’s equally (if not more) important to focus on your micro expressions.
Micro-expressions are split-second facial expressions that you make as you communicate. In fact, they occur within about half of a second. While they might not seem important, they are noticeable to your audience. And, they can have a huge impact on how people perceive you.
When you reveal a micro-expression, it’s considered a “leaking” of your true emotions. So, if you’re not genuine in the things you’re saying, your micro expressions will reveal your true colors. They occur with everyone as they simply happen naturally.
When you focus on your micro-expressions and train yourself, you can increase your overall emotional awareness, and use that to your advantage while you’re speaking.
Check out the research of Dr. Paul Ekman, the man who put micro-expressions “on the map” and changed the way we look at the human face.
2. Neutral Gestures; Body Language
The way you gesture and move throughout your speech will tell the audience a lot about you. It’s important to start in a neutral position with your hands at your sides. You might feel awkward standing this way at first (so it’s good to practice!).
Gesture sparingly. When you do, use defined, clear hand movements to make your point. That will allow your audience to know you feel strongly about certain points, and they’ll be more likely to take those points seriously.
Try to avoid letting your hands “flow” when you’re talking. Large, swooping gestures can be distracting and can take authority away from the points you’re trying to make.
3. Commanding Your Space
Public speaking and body language also go hand-in-hand in the way you control a room. If you’re holding a business meeting or presentation, don’t be afraid to move around to get your point across.
If you’re speaking in front of a large audience on a stage, use a large portion of the stage to your advantage rather than standing in one spot.
It’s easy to let stress impact your delivery, especially in the law enforcement field. If you’re in law enforcement and you’re trying to speak to your unit, to news anchors about a legal matter, or to an audience in the judicial system, respectfully command your space. Standing perfectly still can make you look nervous, and people might assume you aren’t confident in what you’re saying.
Public speaking is often hard enough on its own. Some people get nervous more than others, and it’s hard not to let that shine through.
That’s why taking note of how public speaking and body language work together is so important. Even if you’re nervous to speak in front of people, paying attention to your body language can make you feel more comfortable and confident. You’ll also be able to give nonverbal cues to your audience that accentuate what you’re saying, giving them a positive impression.
If you’d like to learn more about public speaking and body language, feel free to contact me. Or, visit here to learn more about my services.