Monday, December 3, 2007

Body Language

7 Body Language Killers

Killer #1- Avoiding eye contact
what it says about you: You lack confidence; you are nervous and unprepared?

Spend 90% or more of your presentation time looking into the eyes of your listeners. The vast majority of people spend far too much time looking down at notes, PowerPoint slides or at the table in front of them. Not surprisingly, most speakers can change this behavior instantly simply by watching video of themselves. Powerful business leaders look at their listeners directly in the eye when delivering their message.

Killer #2- Slouching
what it says about you: You are unauthoritative; you lack confidence.

When standing stationary, place feet at shoulder width and lean slightly forward. Pull your shoulders slightly forward as well -- you'll appear more masculine. Head and spine should be straight. Don't use a tabletop or podium as an excuse to lean on it.

Killer #3- Fidgeting, rocking or swaying
what it says about you: You are nervous, unsure or unprepared

Killer #4- Standing in place
what it says about you: You are rigid, nervous, boring -- not engaging or dynamic.

Walk. Move. Most men who come to me for presentation coaching think they need to stand ridged in one place. What they don't realize is that movement is not only acceptable, it's welcome. Some of the greatest business speakers walk into the audience, and are constantly moving... but with purpose!

Killer #5- Keeping hands in pocket
what it says about you: You are uninterested, uncommitted or nervous.

The solution here is too simple: Take your hands out of your pocket. I've seen great business leaders who never once put both hands in their pockets during a presentation. One hand is acceptable -- as long as the free hand is gesturing.

Killer #6- Using phony gestures
what it says about you: You are over coached, unnatural or artificial?

Use gestures; just don't overdo it. Researchers have shown that gestures reflect complex thought. Gestures leave listeners with the perception of confidence, competence and control. But the minute you try to copy a hand gesture, you risk looking contrived -- like a bad politician.

Killer #7- Jingling coins, tapping toes & other annoying movements
what it says about you: You are nervous, unpolished or insufficiently concerned with details.

What to do instead: Use a video camera to tape yourself. Play it back with a critical eye. Do you find annoying gestures that you weren't aware of? I once watched an author who had written a book on leadership discuss his project. He couldn't help but jingle all the coins in his pocket throughout the entire talk. He didn't sell very many books that day, and he certainly didn't score points on the leadership scale.



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