"body language"Body language is one of the most important elements of public speaking. It has the power to amplify the spoken word and express unspoken thoughts. For this reason it’s a double-edged sword. Your success as a speaker depends on your ability to invoke emotions through the use of non-verbal communication. As long as you’re passionate about the topic on which you’re speaking, your gestures will look natural.

If you want to deliver a great speech, it’s important to develop excellent body language techniques. Human communication makes extensive use of gestures and facial expressions to help convey ideas and express emotions. Here are some tips on how to effectively use body language when making a speech:

Avoid Distracting Movements

Any movement during your speech should have a purpose. Try to use conscious gestures instead of distracting movements. Some people are awkwardly forcing hand gestures into every sentence. If you want to make a memorable speech, then you should strike an even balance between eye contact, posture, facial expressions, and whole body movements. For example, if you’re using facial expressions to support a statement, keep your arms to your sides and avoid hand gestures.

Know Your Body

It’s essential to understand how your body speaks. Whether your goal is to inform, entertain, persuade, or motivate, your body language must be appropriate to what you say. Your facial expressions and gestures will show if you:

  • Are sincere
  • Are confident
  • Are interested in your audience
  • Believe in what you are saying
  • Care about your listeners

If you look confident and relaxed, your audience will feel the same way you do. When practicing your speech, think about what your body is doing in different interactions with different people. Identify its patterns. People subconsciously react to your body signals. Using body language in the wrong way can create confusion.

Make Eye Contact

Look people in the eyes when making a speech. Keep both feet on the floor. Make sure everything you say is clear. Speak as if you were actually talking to someone. Direct the most positive gestures toward your audience. Focus on individual listeners and try to connect with them by looking them in the eyes for up to 10 seconds.

Let Your Body Express Your Feelings

If you believe in what you’re saying and want to share your enthusiasm with others, your physical movements will come from within. Know the information inside and out, practice your speech, and deliver your message with enthusiasm.

Image credit: nokhoog_buchachon

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