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8 Fatal Body Language Mistakes To Avoid During Presentations

8 Fatal Body Language Mistakes To Avoid During Presentations

Body language is one of the most crucial vehicles to interact. During presentations, you always use facial expressions and hand movements to explain and communicate your message. Using your facial expressions and hand movements or gestures can enable you to convey your content successfully and shows your confidence. If you use them inappropriately or inaccurately, they can become a source of distraction for your audience and will conflict with your message.

Here are eight presentation body language mistakes that you should avoid that include your movement, posture and facial expression:

1.  Movements of the hands

Hands Behind Back

    One of the common mistakes among presenters is certainly the movements of the hands. Hiding your hands, clasping them, or fidgeting with them displays your nervousness, and might give your audience the sense that you do not believe in what you’re saying. Keeping your hands in pockets is also a meek gesture that indicates that you are afraid, unsure, or not interested in the presentation. Some of your audience members might find it rude towards them. Remember, if you don’t look confident in you are presentation –the audience will not remain attentive.

    Instead – Try keeping your arms in front in an open manner.  Use your hands to explain your point of view through calculated, concise movement.

    2.  Crossed arms

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    Body Language Mistakes To Avoid During Presentations

      Crossing your arms might also give the impression to your audience that you are unenthusiastic about your presentation or information, or that something is incorrect. It’s a defensive posture that will signal defensiveness and resistance and create a distance between you and your audience.

      Instead – Keep your arms open, and at a certain distance from your body, almost like you are giving a big bear hug.  This open gesture is engaging and welcomed, it will give a message of peace and confidence to the audience.

      3.  Avoiding Eye Contact

       Eye Contact

        Avoiding audience eye contact and looking at the watch, at your feet, or constantly looking at the screen or your presentation will look facetious and unprofessional.

        Instead – Always consider to make an eye contact with audience when making a point. You can even make it short but don’t be too quick, stay truthful when eye contact.  Quickly moving your head during presentation will portray that you are personally interested and passionate in that individuals.

        4. Bad Posture

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        Bad Posture

          Posture is one of the most important attributes within body language during delivering a presentation.  If you are drooping your back and shoulders and your neck limping, it will defiantly convey a weak message and your audience might start thinking about your professionalism.

          Instead – aim for a neutral position, sitting or standing tall like a string is connecting your head to the ceiling.

          5. Bad body movement

          Shifty Eyes

            Walking back and forth and moving your arms and legs quickly will give an odd feeling.

            Instead – If you do need to move, it should have a purpose.  It is also important to not stay in one place, so moving throughout the entire crowd can send a positive message.

            6. Legs movement

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            legs movement

               

              During a presentation, naturally the legs can be the toughest to control while trying to concentrate on presenting and conveying your message.  Jiggling your legs and constantly settling your standing position will signal the audience that you’re uncomfortable and restless.

              Instead – While presentation stand confidently, make controlled movements towards the audience.  Where you move while presenting, make the audience feel that you have practiced these movements before – make them believe you are a seasoned expert.

              7. Forget to Smile

              Your face is most important aspect in making a good first impression.  Unless you are delivering some bad news, it is suitable for you to smile, even in a business meeting.

                Instead –Begin your presentation with a smile, in result your audience will receive your message more willingly.  Try to keep smiling during your presentation, particularly when you want to make people laugh.  People will respond to a smile by smiling back.  Interaction is key for a remarkable presentation.

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                8. Inappropriate use of hand gestures

                  Moving your hands during your presentation supports every word with more powerful meaning.  Whenever you want to make an important point, emphasize your words with hand gestures.  Your audience will remember the fact or a information better when you attach it to a movement or specific action.

                   

                  Try to remember all of these mistakes and tips to overcome them and the next time you present  – whether it is in a conference room or in your everyday life – and see how your audience reacts to this!

                  Featured photo credit: NASA Goddard via flickr.com

                  More by this author

                  Tayyab Babar

                  Tayyab is a PR/Marketing consultant. He writes about work, productivity and tech tips at Lifehack.

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                  Last Updated on June 3, 2020

                  How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

                  How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

                  We all crave constructive feedback. We want to know not just what we’re doing well but also what we could be doing better.

                  However, giving and getting constructive feedback isn’t just some feel-good exercise. In the workplace, it’s part and parcel of how companies grow.

                  Let’s take a closer look.

                  Why Constructive Feedback Is Critical

                  A culture of feedback benefits individuals on a team and the team itself. Constructive feedback has the following effects:

                  Builds Workers’ Skills

                  Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you come away from it feeling attacked—a key marker of destructive feedback—or did you feel like you learned something new?

                  Every time a team member learns something, they become more valuable to the business. The range of tasks they can tackle increases. Over time, they make fewer mistakes, require less supervision, and become more willing to ask for help.

                  Boosts Employee Loyalty

                  Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Employees want to receive it, but they also want the feedback they give to be taken seriously.

                  If employees see their constructive feedback ignored, they may take it to mean they aren’t a valued part of the team. Nine in ten employees say they’d be more likely to stick with a company that takes and acts on their feedback.[1]

                  Strengthens Team Bonds

                  Without trust, teams cannot function. Constructive feedback builds trust because it shows that the giver of the feedback cares about the success of the recipient.

                  However, for constructive feedback to work its magic, both sides have to assume good intentions. Those giving the feedback must genuinely want to help, and those getting it has to assume that the goal is to build them up rather than to tear them down.

                  Promotes Mentorship

                  There’s nothing wrong with a single round of constructive feedback. But when it really makes a difference is when it’s repeated—continuous, constructive feedback is the bread and butter of mentorship.

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                  Be the change you want to see on your team. Give constructive feedback often and authentically, and others will naturally start to see you as a mentor.

                  Clearly, constructive feedback is something most teams could use more of. But how do you actually give it?

                  How to Give Constructive Feedback

                  Giving constructive feedback is tricky. Get it wrong, and your message might fall on deaf ears. Get it really wrong, and you could sow distrust or create tension across the entire team.

                  Here are ways to give constructive feedback properly:

                  1. Listen First

                  Often, what you perceive as a mistake is a decision someone made for a good reason. Listening is the key to effective communication.

                  Seek to understand: how did the other person arrive at her choice or action?

                  You could say:

                  • “Help me understand your thought process.”
                  • “What led you to take that step?”
                  • “What’s your perspective?”

                  2. Lead With a Compliment

                  In school, you might have heard it called the “sandwich method”: Before (and ideally, after) giving difficult feedback, share a compliment. That signals to the recipient that you value their work.

                  You could say:

                  • “Great design. Can we see it with a different font?”
                  • “Good thinking. What if we tried this?”

                  3. Address the Wider Team

                  Sometimes, constructive feedback is best given indirectly. If your comment could benefit others on the team, or if the person whom you’re really speaking to might take it the wrong way, try communicating your feedback in a group setting.

                  You could say:

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                  • “Let’s think through this together.”
                  • “I want everyone to see . . .”

                  4. Ask How You Can Help

                  When you’re on a team, you’re all in it together. When a mistake happens, you have to realize that everyone—not just the person who made it—has a role in fixing it. Give constructive feedback in a way that recognizes this dynamic.

                  You could say:

                  • “What can I do to support you?”
                  • “How can I make your life easier?
                  • “Is there something I could do better?”

                  5. Give Examples

                  To be useful, constructive feedback needs to be concrete. Illustrate your advice by pointing to an ideal.

                  What should the end result look like? Who has the process down pat?

                  You could say:

                  • “I wanted to show you . . .”
                  • “This is what I’d like yours to look like.”
                  • “This is a perfect example.”
                  • “My ideal is . . .”

                  6. Be Empathetic

                  Even when there’s trust in a team, mistakes can be embarrassing. Lessons can be hard to swallow. Constructive feedback is more likely to be taken to heart when it’s accompanied by empathy.

                  You could say:

                  • “I know it’s hard to hear.”
                  • “I understand.”
                  • “I’m sorry.”

                  7. Smile

                  Management consultancies like Credera teach that communication is a combination of the content, delivery, and presentation.[2] When giving constructive feedback, make sure your body language is as positive as your message. Your smile is one of your best tools for getting constructive feedback to connect.

                  8. Be Grateful

                  When you’re frustrated about a mistake, it can be tough to see the silver lining. But you don’t have to look that hard. Every constructive feedback session is a chance for the team to get better and grow closer.

                  You could say:

                  • “I’m glad you brought this up.”
                  • “We all learned an important lesson.”
                  • “I love improving as a team.”

                  9. Avoid Accusations

                  Giving tough feedback without losing your cool is one of the toughest parts of working with others. Great leaders and project managers get upset at the mistake, not the person who made it.[3]

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                  You could say:

                  • “We all make mistakes.”
                  • “I know you did your best.”
                  • “I don’t hold it against you.”

                  10. Take Responsibility

                  More often than not, mistakes are made because of miscommunications Recognize your own role in them.

                  Could you have been clearer in your directions? Did you set the other person up for success?

                  You could say:

                  • “I should have . . .”
                  • “Next time, I’ll . . .”

                  11. Time it Right

                  Constructive feedback shouldn’t catch people off guard. Don’t give it while everyone is packing up to leave work. Don’t interrupt a good lunch conversation.

                  If in doubt, ask the person to whom you’re giving feedback to schedule the session themselves. Encourage them to choose a time when they’ll be able to focus on the conversation rather than their next task.

                  12. Use Their Name

                  When you hear your name, your ears naturally perk up. Use that when giving constructive feedback. Just remember that constructive feedback should be personalized, not personal.

                  You could say:

                  • “Bob, I wanted to chat through . . .”
                  • “Does that make sense, Jesse?”

                  13. Suggest, Don’t Order

                  When you give constructive feedback, it’s important not to be adversarial. The very act of giving feedback recognizes that the person who made the mistake had a choice—and when the situation comes up again, they’ll be able to choose differently.

                  You could say:

                  • “Next time, I suggest . . .”
                  • “Try it this way.”
                  • “Are you on board with that?”

                  14. Be Brief

                  Even when given empathetically, constructive feedback can be uncomfortable to receive. Get your message across, make sure there are no hard feelings, and move on.

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                  One exception? If the feedback isn’t understood, make clear that you have plenty of time for questions. Rushing through what’s clearly an open conversation is disrespectful and discouraging.

                  15. Follow Up

                  Not all lessons are learned immediately. After giving a member of your team constructive feedback, follow it up with an email. Make sure you’re just as respectful and helpful in your written feedback as you are on your verbal communication.

                  You could say:

                  • “I wanted to recap . . .”
                  • “Thanks for chatting with me about . . .”
                  • “Did that make sense?”

                  16. Expect Improvement

                  Although you should always deliver constructive feedback in a supportive manner, you should also expect to see it implemented. If it’s a long-term issue, set milestones.

                  By what date would you like to see what sort of improvement? How will you measure that improvement?

                  You could say:

                  • “I’d like to see you . . .”
                  • “Let’s check back in after . . .”
                  • “I’m expecting you to . . .”
                  • “Let’s make a dent in that by . . .”

                  17. Give Second Chances

                  Giving feedback, no matter how constructive, is a waste of time if you don’t provide an opportunity to implement it. Don’t set up a “gotcha” moment, but do tap the recipient of your feedback next time a similar task comes up.

                  You could say:

                  • “I know you’ll rock it next time.”
                  • “I’d love to see you try again.”
                  • “Let’s give it another go.”

                  Final Thoughts

                  Constructive feedback is not an easy nut to crack. If you don’t give it well, then maybe it’s time to get some. Never be afraid to ask.

                  More on Constructive Feedback

                  Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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