Hello and welcome to the second article dedicated to body language tells. So far, we have learned about the importance of body language for the purposes of being great seminar facilitators.
Using Body Language during a Seminar (being the sender)
Proper use of body language can be an excellent way of enhancing a seminar. Studies show that if you use more sensory involvement you will gain more interest and retention on the audience’s part. What we know is that hearing is not a human’s best form of receiving information, whereas seeing is.
Of the information that is remembered:
- 85% is through seeing
- 11% is through hearing
- 4% is through the other senses
Researchers have found that:
- Only 10% of presentations on average is remembered
- If visual aids are used, this percentage increases to 50%
- If both visual aids and participation are used, spectators remember up to 70%
It is worth mentioning that by visual aids we do not necessarily mean PowerPoint slides only. There have been many fantastic presentations that do not use PowerPoint at all, in fact there are even presenters who don’t use it. By all means you should use PowerPoint, Prezi or whatever other form of presentation tool you wish, but it is important to remember that there are many additional methods for creating impact in a seminar. Your presentation style is one of those, and proper use of body language goes a long way in determining the effectiveness of your own style.
Once you have your presentation prepared you need to start thinking about your presentation style which will be guided by the body language tells you will be conveying. Some key things to remember are the following:
- Posture – Hands, arms, legs. Stand with your feet slightly apart and your weight evenly balanced. This is the anchoring position, which will help your voice projection and stop you from losing balance. You need to make sure that your hands and arms feel comfortable.
It’s not a good idea to clasp…
…or clench your hands, or put them in your pockets.
Resist the temptation to put your arms behind your back;
Keep them above waist level, and use them naturally to emphasize the points you are making.
- Controlling mannerisms – verbal and physical. Try to avoid nervous mannerisms such as fiddling with objects…
… twiddling hair/beard or saying lots of ‘ums’ or ‘ers’.
- Eye contact – Make eye contact with everyone in the room. A tip is to look round the room and dwell on each person’s eyes for 3 to 6 seconds.
- Voice – speed, pace, tone, pitch, modulation. Project your voice. Speak slightly louder than you would on a one-to-one basis. Remember to vary the voice. Pausing occasionally helps the message to sink in. Pace yourself. Start slowly at the beginning of the presentation. This will help gain the audience’s attention.
- Energy and enthusiasm – if you are not enthusiastic about your subject and do not put energy into your presentation, you are not likely to hold the audience’s attention.
- Controlling nerves – it is normal for people to feel nervous when presenting. You can control nerves through carefully planning and practicing your presentation. It helps in particular to know the beginning of the presentation.
You can find more information regarding presentation style in Daniel Sole García’s article on Connecting with the Audience.
We have learned how to be effective senders of body language tells in order to become better seminar facilitators. In Part 3 of the series, I will be examining the other side of the coin; that is, how to also be a good receiver, therefore being able to interpret the tells of your audience which is just as important to establishing a good connection with them.
Good luck with your seminars!
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