Body Language and Communication Gaps

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “Your actions speak so loudly, I can’t hear a word you say.” He was speaking about character. He could have just as easily been speaking about presentation skills.

You can put all the energy in the world into what you want to say in your presentation–and you should put energy into this–but if you show no emotion what so ever with your body language, then don’t expect to move people. I like to say to my seminar attendees, “If you want to move people, then move, people.”

Body language in a presentation helps your audience see your message. But if your audience sees a different message than they hear, you create a communication gap. If they hear you say how confident you are about this new venture, but you look nervous, your audience has to choose between the two messages you sent. Audiences will usually choose what they see over what they hear.

Ask yourself this question: What’s the impression I’m trying to create? Write that down in a once sentence description. When you practice your presentation, videotape yourself. Play back the video with the sound off. Does your body language deliver the impression you are striving for in your presentation? If the answer is no, then keep practicing until your body sends the same message as your words.

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