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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 April 19, 2021

                  The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

                  The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

                  Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

                  The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

                  Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

                  In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

                  When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

                  Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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                  1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

                  When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

                  As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

                  That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

                  The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

                  What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

                  Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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                  There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

                  So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

                  2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

                  When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

                  No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

                  3. Move Your Body

                  A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

                  It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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                  So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

                  4. Connect With Another Person

                  Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

                  One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

                  Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

                  5. Use Your Imagination

                  When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

                  That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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                  And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

                  Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

                  Final Thoughts

                  Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

                  Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

                  More on the Importance of Taking a Break

                  Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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