Develop Presentation Skills: What Does our Body Language Say About Us?

Whether you loathe or look forward to delivering presentations, your goal is the same. You want your audience to walk away with important information. The phrase “actions speak louder than words” applies to your presentation skills more than you may realize. How you behave has as much to do with how people perceive you as what you say. If your body language does not match your content, your audience may question what you are saying, or possibly dismiss your message entirely. For example, if you stand in front of a group and talk about how excited you are about a new initiative, but you look down, read your notes and don’t smile, your audience likely won’t be very excited about the news and may miss the point entirely.


It isn’t enough to say the right thing; you must be able to confidently deliver your message. In our live programs, we teach the six key physical skills that will help you look and sound confident and dynamic. Even if you’ve heard this information before, it is important to keep it in mind while presenting. Following a few guidelines will put you on track for a successful presentation.


Tips to Develop Presentation Skills

  1. Eye Contact: Eye contact is the number one skill to help you look and sound dynamic. To really connect with your audience, look at one person for a complete thought. Avoid looking to the ceiling or to the floor. Instead, look at an individual for three to five seconds. Once you have connected with one person, slowly move your eyes to another person and repeat the process. Take your time moving your eyes from one person to the next. Slow, decisive eye contact communicates confidence, helps you think clearly, slows your speaking pace and allows your body to gesture naturally.
  2. Square Up & Stand Tall: As you’re looking at someone, physically address that person. This means that your toes, hips and shoulders should all be facing the person you are looking at. You want your body to be in total alignment with the person you are addressing. When you first attempt to square up, it may feel a little robotic and stiff, but as you practice this new skill it will become more natural and will enhance your overall physical presence. This stance sends the message that you are confident, strong and in control. When you are squared up to the person you’re looking at, it also make it easier to gesture naturally.
  3. Pause & Breathe: Slow, deep, diaphragmatic breathing is the best way to control your heart rate and minimize excess adrenaline. Remember to pause and breathe after every important sentence or when looking back at your slides to remember what to say. Pausing will help you remember your next thought. It indicates that you are considering the needs of the audience and not racing through your material. It will relax you and conserve your energy.

Demonstrating strong body language indicates confidence in your content. Practice these guidelines and watch your audience’s perception of you improve dramatically. Once people see that your body language is confident, your message will have a higher impact and move your listeners to action more quickly than ever before.


If you’d like training to help develop your presentation skills, read about our Craft Compelling Content & Captivate the Crowd presentation skills training program.

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