11 Best Body Language Tips For Engaging Presentations (#11 is Underrated)

Growing up, we were always taught how we should have manners while talking to others and that there were some things we could not do in front of people like sprawling or even putting our elbows on the table while eating because it was rude.

In the examples above, the rudeness comes from gestures, not from verbal speech. When it comes to public speaking, our body language can also speak and reveal many things that you didn’t know you were saying, or you didn’t want to.

For example, your shaking and trembling or always looking at your notes transmit loud and clear that you are not confident, and therefore it reduces your credibility.

I want you to come off as a credible, confident, assertive, inspiring, and commanding speaker, who exudes confidence, build rapport, and WOWs the audience. 

30 Oral Storytelling Tips for Begin...
30 Oral Storytelling Tips for Beginners

For that reason, here you have a list of 11 best body language tips for presentations – Number 11 is overly underrated.

  1. Maintain eye contact
  2. Walk around a little bit
  3. Widen your stance
  4. Vary your gestures
  5. Stand confidently
  6. Smile
  7. Control your face expressions
  8. Do not lean on the podium or table
  9. Using your hands effectively
  10. Use body and space
  11. Use the power of Pause and breathe slowly

Being able to engage your audience with your presentations is an amazing gift, and a skill that you can learn and become better and better every single day.

Related Articles that I strongly advise you to Check after this one:

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6 Solid Tips on How to Make Eye Contact While Speaking

11 Best Body Language Tips For Engaging Presentations

Best Body Language Tips For Engaging Presentations
  1. Maintain eye contact

This tip helps you connect visually with the audience; by looking them in the eye, you will seem more like a person who is confident and knows his stuff.

“Look for a friendly face.” Says many people, I would like to advise you against it.

Staring at one person can be uncomfortable for the person you are looking at because she will feel pressured, and it is also awkward for the rest of the audience because they can understand what is going on.

You can look at different ‘kind’ faces in the audience but don’t stare.

6 Solid Tips on How to Make Eye Contact While Speaking

  1. Walk around a little bit

Walking around can take off a little bit of the tension if you get anxious when giving presentations. 

It also allows you to better manage the stage space and get the audience to focus on you rather than any props or visual aids.

  1. Widen your stance
Best Body Language Tips For Engaging Presentations

How you stand in front of your audience is vital because of how people will perceive you. 

Standing or sitting with a posture that looks like you are lazy or tired does not help build trust, credibility, or engage your audience.

It does not matter if you are sitting or standing; you should lift your shoulders slightly, so you look focused and confident.

  1. Vary your gestures
Best Body Language Tips For Engaging Presentations

We see some people who, while delivering presentations, always talk with their hands, which can get the audience absent-minded and focused only on the movements you do.

To avoid that, you should change your gestures from time to time. For example, you can use your hands and arms to explain something very expressively, nod your head when you are talking about something you agree with.

When sitting, avoid flapping your legs because it can be understood as nervousness or an unconfident sign.

Don’t point to the audience too because that can be very intrusive and you might lose your public.

  1. Stand confidently
Best Body Language Tips For Engaging Presentations

It’s easy to stand confidently when you are using adequate clothing for the event you are attending. Avoid wearing too tight clothes or even too short.

Don’t wear clothes that are too colorful and have many designs that could distract the audience from the main focus: your presentation and the message you are there to deliver.

  1. Smile
Best Body Language Tips For Engaging Presentations

Some people don’t like to smile, it is simply not natural to them, but smiling can be quite a remarkable tool to keep the audience engaged when delivering a speech.

Remembering that maybe you are briefing to people you never saw, you need to have a friendly face. Don’t force yourself to smile if you don’t usually do it first in a mirror, so it doesn’t get creepy.

It is essential to have a friendly face because that way, the audience can be much more open and receptive to what you will talk about.

  1. Control your facial expression
Best Body Language Tips For Engaging Presentations

Sometimes you may get lost while delivering a presentation or even making a mistake and saying a word you shouldn’t have.

Anyone can make a mistake, and you are not going to be the first nor the last, so have fun while delivering your message, so your facial expressions are as spontaneous as possible.

The picture above is an example of what not to do in a presentation.

  1. Do not lean on the podium or table
Best Body Language Tips For Engaging Presentations

Leaning on that one place will make it hard for you to make your gestures and get to know all the friendly faces you can find in the room.

You can start small; on the first 5-7 minutes, you stay at the podium, and then you start walking a little bit and connect with people.

Look at it as if it was an intense conversation. When you have it, you want to express your passion, so your body simply flows with you. 

  1. When using your hands keep them open
Best Body Language Tips For Engaging Presentations

Keeping your hands reversed and opened while delivering your message can mean that you are receptive to hearing their point of view, so it helps make it conversational.

Another tip is keeping your hands like the speaker in the image above; it means that you are a wise and easy-going person.

  1. Use body and space
Best Body Language Tips For Engaging Presentations

As I told you before, you need to command the space you are giving your presentation because it shows that you are confident and comfortable in your own skin and with the topic.

When sitting down, cross your legs as four to make yourself look cordial and a really serious person.

  1. Use the Power of PAUSE and Breath Slowly
Best Body Language Tips For Engaging Presentations

With the last ten tips, you might forget the most underrated body language tip of all – using pause effectively and breathing.

A member of the audience can ask a challenging and intriguing question for you to answer. A deep breath helps you have time to think about it.

Still, if you don’t answer them, remember to make it conversational and ask her and all the members what they think about it. That way, you engage all the audience.

You can also use PAUSE when delivering a speech to cause suspense or call your audience’s attention when they are distracted.

Conclusion

Communicating through effective body language or gestures is as important as verbal communication, and vice versa. 

It is a powerful tool to connect with your audience, relax and calm your nerves, appear more confident, and build credibility.

If you have fun while doing it, your public will feel it, and your message will hit home most engagingly and interestingly, as it should.

References and Further Reading

Barnard, D (2017). Consulted in “The Importance of Eye Contact during a Presentation” , October 18th, 2020

Amadebai, E.  13 Ways to Effectively Deliver an Awesome Pitch Presentation.

LowenBraun, N. Consulted in : Duarte Website  “Remember These 6 Facial Expression Tips When Presenting” , October 16th, 2020.

Emidio Amadebai

An avid seeker of knowledge, and passionate about sharing the lessons he picks up in life. Emidio is passionate about public speaking, teaching, and helping others develop critical soft skills, such as communication, leadership, and other interpersonal skills which are in high demand in today's rapidly evolving market.

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