August 2, 2016

Stage Presence: Using Your Body and Voice as Effective Presentation Tools

Even the most brilliant speech with polished PowerPoint slides and cutting-edge presentation technology needs a helping hand.  Your body language and tone of voice can help you make a successful and memorable presentation.

Let Your Body Do the Talking

It’s common knowledge that body language, facial expressions and tone of voice have a huge impact on the way we communicate with others. Unfortunately, many presenters pay little attention to these essential tools. Focusing on your body language and tone of voice in presentations benefits not only you but your audience as well.

Capture Your Audience

It’s not enough to present just the facts. Truly engaging your listeners takes place on an emotional level. Use eye contact to involve your audience and express your commitment to your message. Avoid too many hand gestures – they can distract your audience. Instead, use facial expressions and the timbre of your voice to underline your enthusiasm for your subject.

Try varying your movement and inflection to evoke curiosity and anticipation in your audience. Changes in volume help to highlight different aspects of your message – a louder speaking voice can drive a point home while lowering the volume can create suspense and draw your audience in. The same can be said for the pace of your voice. A slower pace can stress a particular idea, while quickening the pace can show urgency or excitement.

Staying in one spot can make you appear stiff and uncomfortable. If you don’t need your notes or the microphone, try stepping away from the podium, allowing yourself to move freely and address your listeners from different places in the room. This relaxed and accessible approach gives you an air of confidence and will help keep your audience’s attention.

Practice Makes Perfect

Like the saying goes, practice makes perfect. Sadly, few people actually put that to use. Don’t be one of them! Take time to run through your presentation, preferably in the room you’ll be presenting in. Practicing your material beforehand will give you a chance to work out the bugs and discover any pitfalls that may arise. Being familiar with your venue’s size and layout will help you better prepare your choice of gestures and overall body language.

And finally, don’t forget the importance of good posture. Your stance is a visual indicator of your emotional state. It can communicate confidence and happiness, or insecurity and fear. Here’s a good trick to help you find an assertive posture: a few minutes before your presentation, strike a victory pose.  Look upwards, spread your feet and arms, and don’t forget to smile! Your brain will interpret this as a feeling of success, helping you make a confident and self-assured presentation.

Win your audience over with a strong stage presence!


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