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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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