Are you using gestures correctly in presentations?

How to master your body language to get what you want


Imagine this: You’re standing in front of the board. It’s the day of your big presentation. You’ve spent weeks perfecting the speech, troubleshooting the slideshow and triple-checking your facts. Quickly, what are you doing with your hands?

Giving a great presentation is about more than just saying the right things. No matter what comes out of your mouth, your audience will have a hard time believing you if your body language fails to inspire confidence.

The way you use your hands, where you position your gaze and how you hold your head can all have significant implications on how well the presentation goes.

In fact, if you are trying to negotiate with a high-level employee, simply shuffling your feet can leave you on unstable footing – literally and figuratively.

Body language is a key element in negotiation and communication courses. Take some time before your next interview or presentation to consider these quick tips.

Hold your head up

Continually looking down at the ground is a sign of submission and fear. By doing this, you are showing your audience that you are not confident in what you are saying – which gives them the opportunity to talk over you.

Instead, hold your head up high and project across the room, rather than towards your feet!

Make your hands useful

How you use your hands during a speech can say a lot about your confidence. Too many gestures and people may assume you are trying to distract them from something. Too few and your actions may look unnatural and stressed. Instead, try finding something useful to do with your hands like operating the slideshow yourself.

Keep your feet still

While focusing on keeping your head and hands still, you may forget what your feet are doing. Shuffling is a sign that you are not willing to stand your ground, so keep those feet planted and strong.

Mirror their actions

When negotiating with a single person, consider mirroring their actions. This is a physical indication that you are listening to them, which is sure to build a positive rapport. Once you’ve achieved an open and relaxed stance between the two of you, it will be easier to sway them over to your point of view.

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