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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 February 25, 2020

                  How to Create a To-Do List that Super Boosts Your Productivity

                  How to Create a To-Do List that Super Boosts Your Productivity

                  It’s 6:00 am. You have just woken up and are ready to take a shower. After the showering, it’s time to eat breakfast, catch the news by reading the morning paper, and then start your work.

                  You are feeling wonderful, relaxed, and happy. You have very high expectations for the day and you want to be as productive as possible.

                  Fast forward to 2 pm the same day. You are working in a rush and you barely had a chance to take a lunch break.

                  You start to feel a bit stressed and tired because of the busy schedule. Besides, it seems that you have to go back to certain tasks and fix them, because you didn’t have time to focus on them properly.

                  The day which started so fine has turned into a stressful one. You just jump from one task to another – as quickly as possible – without doing anything properly.

                  You wish you’d find a reset button, so that you could start your day from all over – with a different strategy.

                  What you probably experienced was this: you planned your day the night before and you felt you were on top of your tasks.

                  However, things started to go wrong when you kept adding tasks after each other to your list and finally your task list was many miles long. Your to do list also contained tasks which were pretty much impossible to get done in one day.

                  The other point which contributed to your hectic and stressful day was not understanding how much time completing a particular task would take and when to execute the task. If you had this information, it would have been easier to figure out the right timing for executing the task.

                  Finally, there really wasn’t any flexibility in your plans. You forgot to add a buffer between tasks and understand that certain tasks are much larger than what they seem outside.

                  But you know what – these reasons alone weren’t the main reason for your stress and busyness …

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                  What People Are Wrong About a To-Do List

                  Do you really know what you are supposed to do?

                  How much time did you actually spent on planning your day – was it just 5 minutes while the television set was distracting you?

                  If so, then this was probably the biggest reason why your day became so stressful.

                  When you plan your days, you should truly understand the tasks you are about to do – and what it takes to accomplish them. This is necessary especially with important tasks, because you are able to make progress with the tasks that matter the most.

                  The lack of time spent on planning will also be shown as too many big tasks stuffed to your daily list. If you haven’t broken down the task into smaller pieces, it’s probable that you are not going to get them done during the day. This in turn makes you to beat yourself for not completing your task list.

                  Finally, don’t treat creating a task list just like some secondary thing that you try to do as quickly as possible. In fact, when you pay more attention to your next day’s task list, the more likely is the list going to be realistic and less stressful for you.

                  Components of a Good To-Do List

                  When I talk about a good task list, I consider these characteristics to be part of it:

                  Balanced

                  The task list contains both important and less important tasks. Let’s face it: although we all would like to work on just important tasks ( e.g. goal related ones), we have to take care of the less important tasks as well (like running errands, taking care of your household or other everyday stuff).

                  Enough Flexibility

                  What happens when you have planned a task, but you are unable to take care of it? Do you have a plan B in place? If not, try to figure out the alternative action you can take in these scenarios.

                  Time for Transitions

                  Understand that transition times also eat your time. Make sure that when you plan your task list, this time is also included in your plans. Adding some extra buffer between tasks will make your list more flexible and realistic.

                  Not Too Many Tasks for One Day

                  Giving you an exact figure on how many tasks you should have on your daily list is difficult. It depends on your situation. But I’m willing to say that anything between 5-10 tasks should be enough for a day.

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                  Understand that certain tasks are very quick to take care of, so it’s easier to include more tasks on certain days. Just make sure that there are also important tasks on the list so that you are able to move on with your bigger projects.

                  Shield of Protection

                  Build a shield of protection around your task list, so that as few tasks as possible can land to your list and that the number of items on your list won’t increase during the day.

                  In the first case, try to eliminate the sources for your tasks. This is done by reducing your commitments and limiting the projects you have. The fact is that the more commitments (or projects) you have, the more likely they are going to end up as tasks for your daily list.

                  In the second case, make your list a closed one. I learned this concept by reading Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management by Mark Forster. In order to create a closed task list, all you have to do is to draw a line under the last task on the list. When you have done this, you are not allowed to add any new tasks to your list during the day. This ensures that the number of tasks is actually decreasing as the day goes on.

                  How to Create a To-Do List That Boosts Your Productivity

                  To make a list that you can actually accomplish the next day, do the following:

                  1. Eliminate the Tasks

                  Go through your commitments and decide if you really need each one.

                  For instance, I was an active member of our local computer club in my hometown, but then I realized that I don’t have enough time for that activity anymore. Although I’m still a member of the club, I don’t participate in its activities anymore. This has eliminated the tasks related to that commitment.

                  2. Take Your Time to Plan the List

                  Don’t rush creating your task list – spend some time on the planning phase. If required, “isolate yourself” for the planning part by going to a separate room in your home (or even going outside your home). This way, you can actually think the tasks thorough before you enter them onto your list.

                  Try to spend at least 15 minutes with your list when you plan it.

                  3. Move Important Tasks to the Beginning

                  When planning your day, make sure that the important tasks are at the beginning of your list. This ensures that you get those tasks done as quickly as possible.

                  For instance, as a blogger, I make sure I have the content creation tasks at the beginning of my list. As soon as I wake up, I attack those tasks immediately and they get done before I go to work.

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                  4. Track the Recurring Tasks

                  You might have recurring tasks on your list, but do you know how much time they take to accomplish?

                  If you don’t, make sure you do some time tracking to figure it out. This helps you to plan your day better, as you know how much time a task takes and if there is a certain time slot in your daily schedule, when the task could be executed.

                  5. Batch Similar Tasks

                  Look at your list and find out if there are similar tasks that you can batch-process. This way, you can get certain tasks off your list faster and easier.

                  6. Define the Tasks in More Detail

                  Don’t just include a task like “build a website” on your list; make sure you have broken the task to smaller pieces. The smaller the tasks are, the easier it is to take accomplish them.

                  7. Do Some Prep Work in Advance

                  Make sure that you prepare for certain tasks in advance.

                  For instance, I write the outlines for my guests post on Sundays, so that it’s easier (and faster) for me to start writing the actual posts when I wake up. With a little bit of prep work, I speed things up and make sure tasks get done when the right day comes.

                  8. Automate the Maintenance

                  Naturally, you could use a pen and paper approach to your task list, but try to take advantage of technology too. In fact, try to find a tool that takes care of the maintenance of your task list for you. My preferred tool is Nozbe, but there are other task management applications that you can try too.

                  9. Know Your Task Types and Your Schedule

                  Finally, when you plan your day, ask yourself these questions:

                  What else do I have on the schedule?

                  This question refers to your personal schedule. For instance, if you are traveling, make sure that your list reflects to this fact. Don’t try to “overstuff” your list with too many tasks, since it’s more likely you get only a fraction of them done.

                  Is the task a gatekeeper?

                  This question asks if the task is blocking other tasks to be executed.

                  Every once in a while, we might have a task, which has to be taken care of first. After you have done that, only then you can take care of the sequential tasks.

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                  When you focus on creating your task list in a focused manner, you’ll be able to spot the gatekeepers easily.

                  Do I have icebergs on my list?

                  This question asks if your task is actually much bigger than what it seems. Sometimes when you start working on a task, you’ll soon realize that it’s much bigger than what you initially thought (compare them to icebergs, where only the tip of the iceberg is above the sea level, but the majority of the ice is below the water).

                  Once again, when you focus enough on your task list during the creation phase, it’s easier to spot these “icebergs” and split the tasks into smaller, much more manageable chunks.

                  Is the task distraction-proof?

                  This final question asks if the task is distraction-proof. Not all the tasks are created equal: some tolerate more distraction, while others require your full attention.

                  For instance, I can check my Twitter stream or do simple blog maintenance even when I’m around my family. These tasks are distraction-proof and I can take care of them – even if I don’t have my full attention on them.

                  The Bottom Line

                  If you still have a hard time of achieving your daily tasks, make sure that you analyze the reasons why this happened. If anything, do not beat yourself up for not finishing your task list.

                  No one is perfect and we can learn from our mistakes.

                  It takes a bit practice to create a “smiling” task list. However, once you learn to put all the pieces together, things are going to look much better!

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                  Featured photo credit: Jacqueline Kelly via unsplash.com

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