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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 August 20, 2019

                  26 Useful Things to Learn Now That Will Change Your Life

                  26 Useful Things to Learn Now That Will Change Your Life

                  If you pay attention to your everyday life careful enough, you’ll know that you can learn from everything and everyone you come across. Our life is basically full of useful lessons that we should learn.

                  Here are 26 useful things to learn that Abhishek A. Singh shared on Quora. Let’s see how these life theories would lead you to live a different life.

                  1. Primacy and recency: People mostly remember the first and last things that occurred, barely the middle.

                  When scheduling an interview, ask the employer the time slots they do interviews and try to be the first or the last.

                  2. If you work in a bar or in customer service of any kind, put a mirror behind you at the counter.

                  In this way, angry customers who approach you will have to see themselves in the mirror behind you and the chance of them behaving irrationally will be lowered significantly.

                  3. Once you make a sales pitch, don’t say anything else.

                  This works in sales, but it can also be applied in other ways.

                  My previous boss was training me and just gave me pointers. I was working at a gym trying to sell memberships. He told me that once I got all the small talk out of the way and presented the prices, the first person to talk would lose.

                  It didn’t seem like a big deal but it actually worked. Often there were long periods of awkward silence as the person tried to come up with some excuses, but usually they bought.

                  4. If you ask someone a question and they only partially answer, just wait.

                  If you stay silent and keep eye contact, they will usually continue to talk.

                  5. Chew gum when you’re approaching a situation that would make you nervous, like public speaking or bungee jumping.

                  When we eat, our brain tell ourselves, “I would not be eating if I were danger. So I’m not in danger.” This has helped me to stay calm.

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                  6. People will always remember how you made them feel, not what you said.

                  Also, most people like talking about themselves; so ask lots of questions about them.

                  7. When you’re learning something new, teach it to a friend. Let them ask you questions about it.

                  If you’re able to teach something well, you will be sure that you’ve understood it very well.

                  8. If you get yourself to be really happy and excited to see other people, they will react the same to you.

                  It doesn’t always happen the first time, but it will definitely happen the next time.

                  9. The physical effects of stress — breathing rate and heart rate — are almost identical to the physical effects of courage.

                  When you’re feeling stressed in any situations, immediately reframe it : Your body is getting ready to be courageous, you are NOT stressed.

                  10. Pay attention to people’s feet.

                  If you approach two people in the middle of a conversation, and they only turn their torsos and not their feet, they don’t want you to join in the conversation.

                  Similarly, if you are in a conversation with a coworker who you think is paying attention to you and their torso is turned towards you but their feet are facing in another direction, they want the conversation to end.

                  11. Confidence is more important than knowledge.

                  Don’t be intimidated by anyone, everyone is playing a role and wearing a mask.

                  12. If you pretend to be something for long enough, you will eventually become it.

                  Fake it till you make it. Period.

                  13. Not to be creepy, but if you want to stare at someone unashamedly, look directly past them and wait for them to try and meet your eyes.

                  When they fail to do that, they’ll look around (usually nervously for a second) they won’t look at you again for some time. This is your chance to straight up stare at this person for at least 45 seconds.

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                  And as suggested by Brian Stutzman:

                  If you’re staring at someone and get caught, DON’T turn your head or your body to look away, because that just confirms that you were staring.

                  Just move your EYEBALLS off the person. Unlike turning your head, it’s instantaneous. And the person will think you were just looking at something behind them and that they were mistaken for thinking you were staring. Do it confidently, and ignore any reaction from the person, and you can sell it every single time.

                  After a second, you can even look back at them with a “Why are you staring at me?” look on your face to really cement the deal!

                  14. Build a network.

                  Become the information source, and let the information be yours. Even grabbing a beer with a former colleague once a year will keep you in the loop at the old office.

                  Former coworkers might have gotten a new position in that office you always wanted to work in, great! Go to them for a beer, and ask about the office. It’s all about connections and information.

                  15. If you are angry at the person in front of you driving like a grandmother…

                  Pretend it is your grandmother, it will significantly reduce your road rage.

                  main-qimg-17c6060ba5491ad5af817faf5046a13b

                    16. Stand up straight.

                    No slouching, hands out of pockets, and head held up high. It’s not just a cliche — you literally feel better and people around you feel more confident in you.

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                    17. Avoid saying “I think,” and “I believe” unless absolutely necessary.

                    These are phrases that do not evoke confidence, and will literally do you no good.

                    18. When feeling anxious, clean up your home or work space.

                    You will feel happier and more accomplished than before.

                    main-qimg-a0187fc57b3d874f251bd06c388991dd

                      19. Always buy the first pitcher or round of drinks.

                      You’d be surprised how long you could drink on the phrase “I bought the first one.”

                      20. Going into an interview… be interested in your interviewers.

                      If you focus on learning about them, you’ll seem to be more interesting and dynamic. (Again, people love to talk about themselves.)

                      21. Pay attention parents! Always give your kid a choice that makes them think they are in control.

                      For instance, when I want my son to put his shoes on I will say ,”do you want to put your star wars shoes on or your shark shoes on?”

                      Pro-tip: In some cases, this works on adults.

                      main-qimg-0dc201c56efe2beb49b842205f253dfb

                        22. Your action affects your attitude more than your attitude affects your action.

                        As my former teacher said “You can jump and dance FOR joy, but you can also jump and dance yourself joyful.”

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                        23. When a group of people laugh, people will instinctively look at the person they feel closest to in that group.

                        Notice who you look at and who look at you when you laugh with a group of people!

                        24. If you want to build rapport or gain someone’s trust quickly, match their body posture and position.

                        If someone is sitting with her legs crossed, cross your legs. If they’re leaning away from you, lean away from them. If they’re leaning towards you, lean towards them.

                        Mirroring and matching body position is a subconscious way to tell if someone trusts you or is comfortable with you. If you’re sitting with your arms crossed and you notice someone else is sitting with her arms crossed, that is a good indicator that you have/are successfully built/building rapport with that person.

                        25. The Benjamin Franklin Effect (suggested by Matt Miller)

                        I find the basis of the Benjamin Franklin effect is very useful and extends far beyond pencil borrowing. This knowledge is useful in the world of flirting too.

                        Asking a girl in your class if you can borrow a pencil or her notes or to explain the homework will make her more likely to like you than if you let her borrow your stuff or are the one to help her. Even just asking a girl to buy you drinks (facetiously) leaves a much bigger impression than offering to or actually buying a girl a drink.

                        The best part is it kills 3 birds with one stone: you get the advantages of the favor itself, the person subconsciously likes you more, and it makes them more open to future favors and conversation.

                        26. Handle panic and anxiety behaviors by tapping fingers (Suggested by Jade Barbee)

                        When you’re feeling stressed, worried or angry, tap each finger tip while thinking (or speaking quietly) a few specific words about what is bothering you. Repeat the same words while tapping each of your 10 fingers, including thumbs.

                        For example, tap while saying, “I’m so angry with her…” Doing so will likely take the charge out of the feeling and return you to a more resourceful (better feeling) state of being. It’s called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or “tapping,” and it is useful in many life situations – emotional sadness, physical pain, food cravings, traumatic memories…

                        Featured photo credit: Nicole Wolf via unsplash.com

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