When it comes down to body language, you need to have a couple of things in mind: posture, gestures and mimics.
Balanced posture and directed move on stage is very important. However, this is the topic of another post: 6. Moving purposefully on the stage. It is important to keep an open posture (open arms, feet and chest) and project confidence, as well as to maintain a proper level of dynamics – do your best to catch that thin balance between transferring your positive energy to the audience, and distracting them (or even making them nervous) with too much energy.
// ADD PICS FOR OPEN POSTURE
Gestures are used to underline what the speaker is saying (in the same way that we would use exclamation mark or question mark in writing) and to highlight the most important points. They are important in attracting attention to the speaker, but even more, attracting attention to the points said.
There are a few things to be aware of with our gestures:
- try to observe or film to catch if you have any repetitive gestures (or ask someone for feedback) – they can be very distractive for the audience
- be natural! gestures should follow the flow of your speech, and fit into the natural way you move your arms
- use memorable moves to underline crucial parts of your presentation // EXAMPLE
- adapt size of the gestures to the size of the audience/room
- be aware of intercultural differences – don’t use any potentially offensive gestures, or assume that everyone knows the meaning of some sign
Mimics (facial expressions)
The only important thing about mimics is that your facial expressions need to match your speech. Whether you are saying something sad, horrifying or shocking, reflect that on your face. Most important is to be natural and congruent, aligning facial expressions with the message. If you would like to see a good example of how NOT to use body language (otherwise might come at cost of your credibility ) and how NOT to be congruent, think Ace Ventura. Or Austin Powers.
Or perhaps this example might help you realize just how expressive mimics can be: