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The Importance of Body Language in Presentations

Want to give a successful presentation? The key is to make sure that you’re sending the right messages using all the communication mediums available. Those are body language, tone of voice and words, combined. In general,  creating a great presentation involves more than coming up with a topic or designing the perfect PowerPoint slide. Among the important elements that you need to pay attention to is your body language.

With this in mind, here are a few tips from DeckRobot for you to follow while preparing for your next presentation.


What Is Body Language?

Body language is the way our body communicates without the use of words. It combines hand gestures, posture, facial expressions, and movements that tell others what’s going on inside your head. If you’re in a discussion with someone and verbally agree with them, your body language will either confirm that you indeed agree with what is being said; or betray you and tell others you don’t feel the same way.
In other words, your body language reveals the true story behind your words. That is why it is extremely important to focus not only on what you say but what you think. Most presenters focus their preparation time on the words they will say, but research shows that body language accounts for as much as 55 percent of a message’s total impact. Our tone of voice is responsible for 38 percent of the impact and the actual words for just 7 percent. This means that most of us are missing a big piece of the communication puzzle.


The Importance of Body Language in Effective Presentations?

If you use body language in presentations the right way it can help you a lot. You’ll be able to close more sales or win that pitch. Your body language can help you engage your audience and be confident and relaxed during your presentation.
When you make eye contact, maintain a confident posture, your presentation will be more dynamic, and you'll be able to connect with your audience. However, if you choose bad body language during a presentation, such as slouching, no eye contact, or arms on hips, these will make your presentation appear dull and you'll wind up alienating your audience.


Now that we’ve covered what body language is and why it matters while giving a presentation, here are 10 tips that'll show you how to use body language to improve your presentation.

1. Smile

Believe it or not, a smile is the most powerful tool you've got in your body language toolbox. According to public speaking coach, Denise Graveline, a smile has numerous benefits. It shows that you’re passionate about giving your presentation. Smiling also builds trust and rapport as it reveals that you appreciate your audience’s presence.
As a presenter, your goal is to connect with your audience while delivering your message. Smiling before you present increases your chances of capturing their attention and engaging them. Take advantage of this body language form to reach your presentation’s highest potential.

We know you may be nervous before giving your presentation. However, keep in mind that a University of Kansas study found that smiling reduces stress. So, the next time you're up there giving a presentation, don’t forget to smile every so often. Not only will you seem more approachable to your audience, but you'll relieve that stress you’re feeling as well.

2. Don’t Slouch

Your posture should be upright and open. Slouching makes you appear less confident and like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. If you hold your posture straight this will make you look and feel more confident, and it will invite your audience in rather than pushing them away. If you are not sitting or standing upright it suggests that what you have to say is not particularly important to you. If you suggest to your audience that what you have to say is not really worthy of your attention they are unlikely to pay much attention either.

3. Don’t Be Tense

It’s important to look and feel relaxed during a presentation. If you’re standing upright but look rigid, it won’t make a good impression. No matter how nervous you may feel, a speaker who seems to be afraid of his audience will not win their trust. Pause and take a deep breath before you begin, and remind yourself to relax at different points throughout the presentation. Professional speaker Amy Cuddy shows that a power pose can help you establish authority when you need to come across as confident and authoritative in your presentation. Pausing and giving your audience time to think about what you have just said is a good thing to do anyway. You can take that time consciously to relax and re-set your expression and posture.

4. Think About the Audience

While you still need to be upright, open, and relaxed in all situations, remember that different situations require different levels of formality. Do you want to be interrupted if someone has a question for example, or will you only take questions at the end of your presentation? Adapt your posture to be more open or more formal accordingly.

5. Don’t Forget Facial Expressions

Facial expressions create dynamism. They give the impression that you stand behind your ideas and believe in them. Facial expressions can do wonders for keeping your audience interested and convincing them to believe in your cause. Your presentation isn't the time nor the place to bring on your poker face as you'll come off as a robot.

6. Speak Clearly

It’s not uncommon for the nerves to get the better of you during the presentation and you stutter or mumble, especially if there are tricky words involved. Practicing your speech before the presentation is a good way to make sure you feel comfortable delivering it and that your audience will be able to understand you.


Conclusion

Delivering a great presentation requires a carefully chosen topic as well as an engaging slide deck and body language that'll help you win over your audience. Once you’ve nailed down your topic, make sure you've got a well-designed slide deck. With the help of the DeckRobot plugin
Our clients are able to create company presentations in one click according to their brand book guidelines. You can save a lot of time by using DeckRobot and focus on improving your body language.
Lastly, don’t underestimate the importance of body language in a professional presentation. Your body language says a lot about you, not to mention it's got the power to help you deliver an engaging presentation. Put your body language to good use by making use of the space, maintaining eye contact, speaking clearly and with confidence, and by standing tall without slouching.