5 tips to help you make an impact on your audience
Communication begins before you open your mouth
Were you aware that your use of personal space, physical gestures, posture, facial expressions and eye contact could improve, sustain, weaken or even sabotage your message!
Nonverbal communication often punches above its weight in terms of the information it conveys. It has been shown that 70% of our communication is achieved nonverbally. Hence, it is important that we learn to use body language more effectively to become an effective communicator. Every time you communicate, you use hand gestures and facial expressions, even without noticing yourself. Using facial expressions and hand movements can help in conveying your content more clearly and it even gives an impact that you are confident of what you are telling. But, if you use them inappropriately or inaccurately, they can become a source of distraction for your audience and could also conflict with your message.
You need to be alive in the moment, noticing all the elements surrounding you.
Body Language is your SUPERPOWER
Research at Harvard University by associate professor Amy Cuddy has now proven what many have long known intuitively: that your physical state has a direct and immediate impact on your emotional and mental state. Cuddy’s research has demonstrated that moving into what she coined a “power pose”, standing tall, holding your arms out or towards the sky or standing like Superman with your hands on your hips, will releases hormones in your body that generate feelings of greater strength, confidence and power. Try this one somewhere by yourself before you step into an audio, video or in-person meeting where you expect to feel nervous, insecure, or intimidated.
Cuddy’s research found that you express power through open, expansive postures, and express powerlessness through closed, contractive postures. To sum it up, moving into a “power pose” not just causes you to think and to feel more gallant but in addition changes your real physiology and, along these lines, your behaviour.
So don’t use T-rex gesture.
Own The Stage
You are given the entire stage, so utilize it. Try to move around during transitions and be near to your audience, when having dialogue with them. There is no need for pacing back and forth while you are making an important point, it will distract your audience. Wherever you go, your audience will follow you, thereby focusing more on your steps than on your words. So don’t move for just the sake of moving. You need to punctuate your words through your movements, like slowing right down to stand still when making an important point, or shifting from left to right as you are describing some different scenarios. Don’t keep hiding behind the podium, after one or two slides, show yourself to the audience and make eye contacts with them.
Also don’t turn your back on the audience.
Talk with your hands
Recall the most remarkable speeches you’ve ever heard. Whether it was at a seminar conference attended by a large audience or just a meaningful conversation with a friend or colleague, think about what the speaker did with his hands. Odds are they weren’t resting in their pockets or stuck to the side of a lectern. So as to add importance to their words, great speakers use their hands to express the message they’re trying to get across. Thus, next time you’re chatting with somebody you want to make an impression on, don’t be hesitant to utilize your hands. This isn’t something that’s instinctive or that you should think about too much. Just let it happen naturally and your listener is sure to see you in a favourable light.
Avoid the finger wag though.
Are you still on the journey?
I might have caught you by surprise here! Were you also in the same posture as shown above? Most of the time the speaker is so indulged in his own body posture that s/he forgets about her/his audience. While giving a presentation, the speaker should also notice the body posture of the audience, whether they are listening keenly and taking notes or they look bored and seem to lose interest. Try to interact with them as much as possible. Include some humour in your speech or ask some questions, if needed. Though one of the best way to keep the audience attentive is to call one of them by name! This works well with students who most of the times get startled.
You are the guide !
Never ever feel low while presenting. If you loose your self-confidence, you aren’t going to put an impact on your listeners. The best way to deal with stage fright is to think of the audience as tourists and yourself as their guide. Its you who has the knowledge and they will follow anything you tell.
Body language is your superpower: stand strong, gesture effectively and mind your audience.