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Boosting Your Body Language for Better Presentations

Preparing the content of your deck is only half the battle in delivering a presentation. You can have the most beautifully designed and eloquently written presentation in history, but if your public speaking skills are not up to snuff, then it will be all for naught.

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As the saying goes, “it’s not about what you say, but how you say it.”

Simply put, delivering a good presentation takes demonstrating good body language. Presentation experts will tell you, beyond simply knowing your content, it’s important to be able to show confidence and relatability in front of your audience. When your body language complements your content, then you’re sure to deliver a great presentation.

In this article, we’ll tackle the key aspects of body language that will boost your presentation skills to the next level.

Posture

Whether you’re sitting down or standing up, how you carry yourself greatly affects the entire mood of your presentation. You never want to be caught slouching, as it makes you look lazy and unprofessional.

Maintaining an upright and open posture presents a confident and charismatic stance to your audience. It also makes you feel more confident.

A good tip is to loosen up before your presentation. It’s meant to release all the nervous tension that may cause you to stand or sit in awkward positions.

Eye contact

Perhaps one of the most neglected steps in presenting is establishing a good connection with the audience.

The stronger the connection, the more receptive your audience will be to what you’re presenting. The quickest way to develop that is with eye contact. It sends a subtle message that you are paying attention to them, making you deserve their attention.

It may seem like a small detail, but it also subconsciously tells them how confident you are in your presentation.

Facial expressions

While we’re on the topic of connections, remember to be aware of your facial expressions.

When it’s appropriate, you’ll want to smile as much as possible. No one enjoys sitting through a presentation from someone who looks like they do not want to be there.

Remember that audiences tend to mimic or feed off the emotions of the presenter facing them.

With a smile on your face, you have the power to uplift the room you step in front of.

Gestures and Movement

As the presenter, it’s your mission to keep your audience engaged. Incorporating hand gestures and movement can be what makes the difference between a dull presentation and a captivating one.

Think of your arms and legs as storytelling tools. Hand gestures add emphasis to your speech while movement along the stage can guide the attention of your audience. And like any tool, you must handle these with care and precision. You need to strike a balance in your use of gestures and movements so that they come off as part of your natural motions and not overly rehearsed.

While presentation styles may vary from person to person, body language is universal. It’s a form of communication that speaks beyond words and potentially adds to the impact of your presentation.

To presentation specialists, using subtle hints in body language is an invaluable skill in communication and public speaking. With enough practice, you’ll be instinctively using your body language to deliver more dynamic presentations.

To learn more ways to elevate your presentations, you can contact us anytime! At SlideGenius, it’s our passion to design exceptional PowerPoint presentations. We believe that good business starts with a well-made presentation.

Let us handle the designs, while you can practice on your delivery!

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What Do Great Public Speakers Have in Common?

Effective speakers ensure to leave lasting impressions during each presentation. Being a great public speaker means being able to translate your expertise into words understandable enough for your audience to comprehend even if they have very little knowledge on the topic.

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Apart from having a well-designed custom PowerPoint presentation, you also need to be confident in the delivery of your pitch. Not everyone has the inherent talent of flawlessly delivering their speech in front of a large audience.

Here are some of the notable traits that effective speakers possess—keep your eyes trained for qualities that are guaranteed to inspire, influence, and make a significant difference on your audience’s lives:

They start strong and end strong.

When the opening is executed right, it immediately engages the audience and all you have to do as the speaker is keep their attention on you for the duration of the presentation. Remember, the first words that spill from your mouth can either make or break your sales pitch.

Apart from this, you also have to end things as strong as your beginning. Pro tip: pattern your presentation akin to a story, wherein it has a beginning, middle, and end. The more memorable your speech is, the greater the chances of memory retention.

They exude confidence.

Even the world’s best orators get nervous, but their strength lies in their ability to conquer their nerves instead of the other way around. Your audience can smell fear and uncertainty—if you show weakness, the less likely it will be to engage and motivate them.

They speak in the audience’s language.

The head of TED, Chris Anderson, shares that the speaker’s primary objective is to build their idea in the minds of their audience. This means it should be communicated in a way that changes someone’s perspective, potentially influencing their actions for the present and the future.

One of his tips included speaking in the audience’s language. This means avoiding the use of industry jargon and instead, using metaphors and information that listeners are more familiar with.

He also recommends practicing in front of friends and have them give their feedback on which parts confuse them the most so that the speaker can improve their presentation.

They mix words with gestures.

Not only is modulating important, but so are mannerisms, as these also make an impact. These help convey your enthusiasm and convictions, putting emphasis on important information.

Most importantly, great speakers connect with their audience—don’t be afraid to make eye contact and ask rhetorical questions. Remember, your listeners should be able to relate with what you’re saying.

They are organized.

When your presentation is structured and is executed with a sound agenda, the more comprehensible it will be for your audience. Experienced speakers make sure that they clarify their objectives before presenting, as this will make the flow easier to follow. Plus, this allows audience members to save their questions for the appropriate sections

Public speaking is not an easy feat, but with practice and these principles in mind, you’ll be on the right track to becoming one of the best speakers out there.

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References:

Anderson, Chris. “TED’s Secret to Great Public Speaking.” TED. March 2016. www.ted.com/talks/chris_anderson_teds_secret_to_great_public_speaking#t-33738

Boyes, Alice. “5 Tips for How to Gain Confidence at Public Speaking.” Psychology Today. April 9, 2013. www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-practice/201304/5-tips-how-gain-confidence-public-speaking

5 Tips You Need to Apply for a Confident Presentation

The drive to do better exists in everyone, and excelling in presentation delivery is no exception.

Yet it seems that developing confidence, a crucial part of delivery, takes a backseat. To make up for this, presenters just end up putting up a front.

When confidence is just a mask, we eventually slip back to our old habits as soon as the situation that calls for it ends. You effectively stall your presentation skills and never hone real confidence as a result.

You can apply confidence to many other areas in your life, so it makes sense to develop this important skill even outside the context of presentations.

It takes a lot of hard work to become a confident presenter. Get a better look at yourself to see the areas that need your attention so you don’t have to fake it to make it.

1. Awareness

Total awareness of your habits and actions is the first step to knowing yourself better.

Your body language reflects how you feel without you realizing it. Are you constantly shifting your gaze? Do you slouch? Are your hands constantly by your sides?

These gestures don’t display confidence, so learn to change these habits.

Connect with your audience and make them feel involved by establishing eye contact. Good posture will boost your confidence and make you look confident as a result.

Use your hands to persuade your audience and emphasize points in your speech.

2. Observation

Charismatic people project confidence effortlessly.

One of your favorite actors or actresses can serve as an inspiration to develop your presentation style.

However, don’t imitate another person’s speech or delivery style to avoid looking unnatural.

Be yourself, and the audience will react positively to authenticity which improves your audience engagement.

3. Authenticity

Introverts shouldn’t force confidence when they have to give a presentation.

You can still be confident while staying true to yourself.

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It will take a lot of preparation and practice in order to mitigate anxiety, but the contemplative nature of introverts help them overcome their hang-ups faster in order to improve.

Due to their limited energy reserves, it’s only crucial that they must plan their actions ahead.

4. Qualifiers

Do you fill in your speech with these words: might, probably, generally, kind of, and mostly?

These words are called qualifiers, and the given examples above express doubt. Use will instead of might, or certainly instead of probably to create a strong and confident argument as necessary.

It‘ll take some time, but speech habits and patterns can be corrected.

5. Expertise

There’s no single, true expert when it comes to reading body language. Nick Morgan, one of America’s top communication coaches, asserts that even you’re much better at reading the body language of people you know than any expert out there.

Don’t overthink how others might interpret your gestures, but be aware that your true intentions can easily be picked up.

This is why faking confidence can be an unreliable tip to follow. You’re constantly trying to be someone else and the audience only needs you to slip up once in order to see through your façade.

Build trust by being confident in your own way.

Confident and Prepared

You should be a lot more relaxed now when you deliver your presentation. Confidence is all about the effort and hard work that you invest in yourself and expressing it naturally.

These tips encourage you to build confidence in a way that will benefit you more in the long run. Don’t settle for a mask of confidence, temporary results don’t last.

Build the right habits and take an honest look at yourself so you can let confidence flow within you.

Once you’ve naturally grown more comfortable under your own skin, it will no longer be necessary to feign confidence.

 

References

Morgan, Nick. “7 Surprising Truths about Body Language.” Forbes. October 25, 2012. Accessed December 11, 2015. www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorgan/2012/10/25/7-surprising-truths-about-body-language
Perugia, Sarah. “Body Language at Work: How to Connect, Inspire and Project Confidence.”
Qualifiers.TheGuardian. December 10, 2015. Accessed December 11, 2015. www.theguardian.com/women-in-leadership/2015/dec/10/body-language-work-project-confidence
White, Martha C. “4 Extremely Easy Ways to Fake Confidence.” Time. August 18, 2014. Accessed December 11, 2015. http://time.com/3131130/fake-confidence
Winch Ph.d., Guy. “10 Things Passive People Say.” Psychology Today. November 12, 2015. Accessed December 11, 2015. www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201511/10-things-passive-people-say

 

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Psychological Biases: Overconfidence in Sales Presentations

We used to believe that too much of anything can be a bad thing; these include excessive sleeping, drinking, and eating. Beside these daily activities, there’s one human trait that can best explain the above mentioned adage: overconfidence.

Overconfidence is a self-delusion that may lead to disastrous situations and wrong decisions. For example, overconfident drivers and motorists who take great risks on the road are more prone to car accidents. Being overconfident, however, can also be a good thing.

According to a study, people who are proud of themselves are more likely to get rewards than those who are self-conscious. The research implies that delusional confidence isn’t absolutely a negative trait. In fact, it can help you reap better results at work and other aspects of life.

Here’s how psychological contexts discuss overconfidence and how it can make sales presentations more effective.

Defining the “Overconfidence Effect”

The overconfidence effect refers to a biased way of seeing oneself and placing too much faith in personal knowledge and opinions. It’s a cognitive bias in which people think they are better than their own characteristics, abilities, and judgement. This is a common phenomenon for entrepreneurs who are not afraid of making risky decisions when improving their chances to succeed.

Why Use Overconfidence in Presentations

Being overconfident during sales presentations may add value to your pitch and boost your professional image. It allows you to persuade the audience through confident postures, body language, and vocal tone. This appears to be a significant factor in making people see the huge potential of your proposal. It also allows you to realize your full capabilities.

As Anisa Shyti writes, the probability of succeeding in something depends on three things: how well you know the topic, how familiar you are with it, and how difficult you think it is. When you think that you’re stronger or smarter than you really are, you’re close to motivating yourself to perform better.

How to Make Overconfidence Your Ally

This psychological bias will only become your friend when your actual presentation performance equates to your promises. By this, we mean presenting with reasonable confidence and guaranteed accuracy. Self-belief and performance should meet halfway to come up with good results.

This is why you need to know your sales presentation by heart, from start to finish, to make your buoyancy a genuine one. Emphasizing your successful sales records and sharing client testimonials are some of the effective ways when justifying self-confidence. To boost your credibility and prevent damaging your self-worth, every information that you present must be 100% true.

Think You’re the Greatest

Even if overconfidence has gained a bad reputation in society, its psychological bias still presents many advantages. Our confidence influences a determined personality and attracts greater possibilities. A strong character allows you to show positive and convincing presentation cues, which can make your pitch more effective.

Take advantage of your self-worth to give your speech more charisma and power.

References

Hazell, Krystal Jade. “Overconfidence Is The Key To Success, Says Study.” Huffington Post. September 9, 2011. www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/09/20/overconfidence-key-to-success_n_971718.html
Hull, Stephen. “How overconfidence can improve your chances of success.” Daily Mail. September 19, 2011. www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2038703/How-overconfidence-improve-chances-success.html#ixzz3tzaKYZyW
Johnson, Dominic and James Fowler. “The Evolution of Overconfidence.” Macmillan Publishers Limited. 2011.

Featured Image:Consumer Confidence by Chris & Karen Highlandon flickr.com

Fight the Threat from Within: How to Cure Presentation Nerves

“A reputation takes time to build, and losing it can cause damage to future career success,” said Anita Bruzzese.

While trying to secure your business reputation, it’s important to oust the fears and insecurities creeping into your presentation base.

Symptoms of fear such as a racing heartbeat, sweaty palms, and shortness of breath prevent you from thinking properly, damaging your credibility.

Fight your nerves.

Secure your professional standing, and defend yourself at any cost against any threat.

Fight, Not Flight

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The stress of presenting to a large group of listeners can trigger an adrenaline rush.

This fight or flight response occurs when faced with a threatening situation.

According to Harvard physiologist Walter Cannon, this response is hard-wired into our brains and was design to protect our ancestors from physical harm.

But as we’ve moved on from our hunter-gatherer roots, our desires and fears have similarly changed.

That’s why when all eyes and ears are on you, your body prepares to fight or flee from the perceived threat of a failed speech.

Although this response is automatic, you can still choose which impulse weighs more.

In presentations, empowering yourself to fight is always a better option.

Stay calm and stand your ground to win your customers.

Learn from past nerve-wracking experiences to improve your overall comfort when presenting onstage.

Ask for Help

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Everyone makes mistakes and no one is immune to panic while in a presentation.

Worst case scenario, you might even take a hit to your credibility, given a major slip-up.

Seeking outside help is a good solution to this problem.

Specifically, ask for helpful feedback from trusted friends or colleagues.

Rehearse your speech in front of them beforehand to pinpoint areas for improvement.

This lets you think of ways to improve your technique and toughen your nerves.

Constant development gives you the courage to fight your fears.

It’s hard to defend your reputation without backup.

Find allies who’ll inspire you to become a better presenter.

Seek advice from someone you trust to help you build up a sizeable advantage.

Stay Calm

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Calming your body down cuts down on stress.

In fact, this is the easiest way to avoid getting overpowered by your public speaking fears.

Going for a brisk walk before you present is ideal for controlling your panic attacks.

Besides walking, some breathing exercises also help relieve stress and fear.

Slow and deep breathing helps improve blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration.

Set your two hands on your abdomen, then do the popular inhale-and-exhale method.

This meditative practice allows positive feelings to rule over the negative ones.

Sometimes, all you need is a deep breath and quick walk to help you survive your speech.

Conquer Your Nerves!

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The fear of public speaking can be the end of your reputation.

If things aren’t under control, you might be seen as unprepared and unprofessional.

Finding ways to calm your nerves protects your professional standing from unnecessary hits.

It only takes three easy steps.

Find the courage to fight your fear.

Be positive and work on improving your self-confidence.

And lastly, stay calm to alleviate your stage fright.

Defeat the fear creeping into your presentation base to secure your business image.

 

References

5 Minute Stress Mastery.” The Body Soul Connection. n.d. Accessed September 28, 2015.
Presentation Nerves: making them work for you!” Presentation Magazine. February 12, 2012. Accessed September 28, 2015.

Body Talk: 3 Body Language Tips to Boost Self-Esteem

Positive body language is often seen as the effect of self-confidence. But it can also be the other way around.

According to social psychologist Amy Cuddy, people experience a boost in self-esteem when they change their body language. Use the benefits of positive body language to your advantage in preparing for a presentation. Having a higher level of confidence in yourself before presenting drives away lingering anxiety. It also helps you focus on your delivery.

The next time you feel anxious before a presentation, try the following:

1. Victory Pose

Experts agree that posing with expansive gestures and a widened stance increases your confidence. Taking off from Cuddy’s discussion of body language, whenever you “open up” for this pose, your testosterone levels rise, increasing your feelings of dominance and assertiveness.

On the other hand, it also reduces cortisol, the stress hormone. Before facing your audience, seek out a private space and practice your victory pose. Straighten your back and push your shoulders back while keeping your head up and raise your arms in a “V” shape.

2. Tense up

While it may seem counterintuitive, tensing up beforehand can actually increase your willpower. Studies show that keeping muscles firm allows you to endure pain and other unpleasant feelings longer than someone who doesn’t.

Aside from the victory pose, this technique comes in handy during an extreme case of stage fright. It will strengthen your resolve to push through with your presentation.

3. Cross your Arms

When you feel like you’re running out of ideas, try crossing your arms first. This gesture increases persistence and pushes you to think up better solutions to your problems.

In a study published in the European Journal of Psychology by Roy Friedman and his colleagues, university students were tested with the hypothesis. Those who crossed their arms managed to last longer through difficult anagrams. In comparison, students whose hands remained on their lap lasted for a shorter period of time. Similar to tensing up your muscles, crossing your arms is also an act of tightening, which is associated with energizing oneself.

As an example, think of how persistent a child whose arms are crossed can be against direct commands. Applying that for a positive purpose, persevere through your pre-presentation hurdles by crossing your arms. To help you last through a tough mental block for a presentation concept, cross your arms through it.

Conclusion

Body language isn’t just an indicator of how you feel, it can also be a catalyst in changing how you see yourself. Practice positive body language not just on your actual presentation, but also while preparing for it. You’ll be more likely to feel better about yourself and think of better ideas.

Doing a victory pose before a presentation helps you imbibe and radiate confidence to your intended audience. Tensing up during preparation allows you to withstand stress and fight your anxieties. In the same way, crossing your arms gives you the patience to come up with ideas for your presentation.

Use body language to your advantage and let it boost your self-esteem whenever you experience presentation jitters. Need help with your presentation? Contact our SlideGenius experts and get a free quote today!

 

References

“10 Simple Postures That Boost Performance.” PsyBlog. March 11, 2011. Accessed October 6, 2015. www.spring.org.uk/2011/03/10-simple-postures-that-boost-performance.php
Friedman, R., Elliot, A.J. (2008). The effect of arm crossing on persistence and performance. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38(3), 449-461. DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.444
Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are. Amy Cuddy. TEDGlobal, 2012. Accessed October 6, 2015. www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are?language=en

 

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