Public Speaking Tips - Body Language
Skills Social Work

Public Speaking Tips – Body language

Whether you have to give a presentation or are due to speak at a wedding, public speaking can be nerve-racking. It can leave you like a rabbit in the headlights. Furiously googling public speaking tips the night before the big event. Which is great! Being proactive is a huge plus. It’s probably what led you to this article in the first place. Which is also great! Why? Because I’m going to talk about the one area of public speaking that is usually ignored.

Body Language

Using the right body language can put you in the correct frame of mind and give you the confidence to crush it. So let’s get into the details.

Public Speaking Tips – Before Going On

  • Warm up before hand. This includes your voice and your body. Loosening yourself up with stretches can help take the focus away and de-stress you.
  • Practice power poses┬áto improve your confidence:
  • Practise your speech! You don’t need to know that whole thing by rote. However, making sure you have a good understanding of the running order, theme and discussion points will help you to relax once onstage.
  • Make sure you are hydrated and go to the toilet before it’s show time!

Public Speaking Tips – On Stage Presence

  • Don’t fiddle with your clothes / equipment (not a euphemism, although boys, leave that alone too!).
  • Move with purpose.
  • Your expressions and gestures should help to convey your presentation. Don’t flail your arms around, thinking you have to always be animated. Let it come naturally.
  • Not good at being still? Use a microphone that will allow you to move around the stage. Moving towards the audience allows you to make a connection and emphasize a point. Moving away from them helps to convey the end of a point or section.
  • Keep your posture on point. Stand tall, open up your body and keep your chin high.
  • Try to move from your upper body, not the hips. This helps to convey an air of authority to your audience.
  • Make plenty of eye contact. Now, this can be difficult for some people. So here’s what you do. Look at people’s foreheads rather than their eyes. They won’t know.
  • Laugh, smile. Use your face. A blank poker face won’t come across well. No matter what the rest of your body is doing.

While all these tips should help you to become a good public speaker, there is a caveat. Unfortunately, like everything else in life, practise is needed. Doing all of these things will help to improve your performance. But, if it’s your first (or one of your first) times on stage, you still might not come across as amazing. You might forget things. You might stumble over your words. All of these things are completely ok. Most public speakers went through this the first few times they spoke.

Keep going, believe in yourself and push on through.

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