Your body movement during your presentation has the ability to strengthen the impact of your message … or it can be a serious distraction.
One of your goals as a speaker is to look so natural with your movements and with what you say that no one even notices that you are using intonation and inflection or body movement as a means of emphasizing the points of your speech.
So, what kinds of mannerisms are distracting?
- Swaying to and fro
- Hanging on to, dare I say clutching, the podium or lectern
- Finger tapping
- Licking your lips or biting your lips
- Fidgeting with clothes, pockets or jewelry
- Fussing with your hair
- Bobbing your head
- Flailing arms at inappropriate times
Being of Mediterranean descent (Spanish) and having ADD, I know how difficult this can be. But if I can do it, you can too!
The movements you make during your speech should be planned or at least controlled. Any movement that is not planned could potentially distract the audience from your point.
Many of the above mentioned mannerisms stem from being nervous. Additionally, you may not know that you are doing them.
Either way, you’ll need to minimize and eliminate as many of these movements as possible. Here are some tips to help you:
1. Make a video tape of yourself. Do you even know that you are making these movements? Probably not. A video will help you identify which distracting movements you’ll need to work on eliminating.
2. Review the video tape for times where you make distracting mannerisms. Make a list of the mannerisms you have and thoughtfully practice your speech without them. Re-record yourself and keep reviewing your tapes until you are satisfied that all the mannerisms are gone.
3. Work on feeling comfortable with delivering your speech. You should feel natural as you speak about your topic. You should feel like you are sharing information with a long time friend. This will come when you’ve spent many hours practicing, reworking and revising your speech. This will also come because you speak from your heart and let others know the way you feel about your subject.
4. Work on eliminating nervousness when delivering your speech. This will come as you get more familiar with your material. This will also come as you take the time to focus on delivering your message instead of focusing on the feelings of fear and anxiety. Take a look at last week’s post for more tips on handling nervousness.
5. Review your video tapes for places in your speech that you need to add body movements. Sometimes, body movements can make a presentation more interesting. Let your movements show the way you feel. These movements should be natural and can work in your favor as you emphasize specific points in your presentation.
Consider this when deciding which body movements to incorporate into your presentation. Body movements should look natural. You can use facial expressions and make eye contact with your audience for maximum effect.
Every movement should be planned during your presentation. You can easily lose your audience with distracting movements because your audience’s focus and attention will be turned to these movements instead of what you have to say.