This piece is taken from the website of Simply Speaking, a consultancy who offer voice and presentation training.
Body language is just as important as words when it comes to getting a message across. But what should you do with your hands when you're talking in public? And how should you move your body?
Do you ever feel physically uncomfortable not knowing quite what to do? Should you gesticulate frequently or keep gestures to a minimum? Should you wander around or stay stock still?
A convincing speaker uses powerful body language, including strong, defined movements and stillness. But unless you are taught to use your personal body language effectively, it can be really hard to know what to do.
For your speech to have impact, your body language must reflect your words, and vice versa. We will teach you to match these comfortably so that your audience can simultaneously see, hear and understand what you mean.
"Won't I feel uncomfortable changing my body language?"
We try to make the process as pain free as possible. We will take you out of your comfort zone a little, but you will be in a safe environment where it doesn't matter if you make a mistake. We are here to support you.
The body speaks very loudly, but many people don't know exactly what their non-verbal communication is saying to their audience. We will give you expert feedback on your body language and gently encourage you to try new techniques.
However, we realise that your body language is part of your personality and as everyone is different, the body language that works for you will be very individual and we won't suggest doing anything uncomfortable or unnatural.
Making eye contact
Another vital part of public speaking is making eye contact with your audience. This draws people in and makes them listen because they feel you are addressing them personally.
But although it sounds simple, lots of people find it difficult to make appropriate eye contact, particularly with a big audience. There are lots of misconceptions about what to do, and we will clear these up for you. We will show you how to make effective eye contact, increasing your authority and audience rapport and establishing a professional presence.