Tips for Body Language while giving a Presentation

Gestures & facial expressions play a significant role in shaping our communication. This also involves PPT presentations: A presenter's body language can impact the audience's response to content. The most versatile & effective presentation tools at your disposal – your body.


Varsha Gehlot


Tips for Body Language while giving a Presentation

Gestures & facial expressions play a significant role in shaping our communication. This also involves PPT presentations: A presenter's body language can impact the audience's response to content. The most versatile & effective presentation tools at your disposal – your body.
If you stand behind the podium, ignore your posture or use awkward gestures & facial expressions, you'll have no chance of persuading your audience. In this article, we'll tell you practical tips and tricks to use body language to your best advantage.
Why body language is so essential in PowerPoint presentations?
Most of the time, we don't catch that our body language negatively influences our presentation until it's too late. Anxiety plays a role in this, especially when presenting to a large audience. We gesture too much & too excitedly or hide behind the podium.
Obscene gestures can negatively influence your presentation. Audiences decide within a few moments whether the orator is likable or competent. Body language & gestures are just as crucial for a successful presentation as the content itself. 
How can facial expressions improve a presentation?
Facial expressions tell the audience how the speaker feels about the content. The more you connect with your content emotionally, the more impact your words will have on your audience. You can find the correct facial expressions to set the right tone for your presentation with a bit of practice.
How can the right gestures enhance the presentation?
A gesture is a hand/arm movement that expresses or emphasizes an idea. Many presenters don't know where to put their hands during a presentation. An awkward reaction is to clasp your hands behind your body or hang your arms. This often looks like an insecure, unprofessional, and uninspired gesture. Instead, use your hands to punctuate the presentation at specific points & underline important messages. This communicates professionalism & dynamism.
Here's an example: When You present a process in a presentation using a diagram. Leaving your arms hanging down by your body gives the impression that you're not interested & unmotivated. Use gestures to your advantage!
Whenever you explain a section of the process, point to where you are on the slide. If the process goes forward, represent this with a forward-moving had gesture. If the process went backward, make a backward motion with your hands. This depicts that you're interested & energized.
Tip: Again, be sure to practice beforehand in front of a mirror. 

Effective body language during presentations: tips & tricks

The right way to give a presentation: Sitting or standing?
While presenting, you need to be the center of attention—presenting while sitting will immediately focus. You'll appear unmotivated, uninspired & limit how much body language you can use. 
Stand while presenting. You'll have the freedom to move around & use your body language more purposefully. You'll appear more animated & motivated. Be aware of distracting objects in front, such as tables, if you want to be fully visible to the audience & not create an unconscious barrier.
Posture: How to stand?
> Do not stand with your legs too far apart. This can make you look less elegant.
> Do not stand with legs too close together. It's an easy way to lose footing & maybe even trip.
> Stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart, so you have a firm and stable stance.
Also, stand up straight. Avoid slouching or slumping your shoulders forward. What has a positive impact on posture? The answer is simple: Self-confidence. Know your presentation topic inside & out, and rehearse your presentation several times. The more familiar one is with the presentation subject, the more confident you appear.
Keep your head as still as possible when speaking. Raising your head & voice at the end of a sentence sounds like you're asking a question. And this makes you seem less confident. Avoid nervous hair flicking or touching.
 Hands & Gestures
Avoid the following pitfalls:
> Hands-on hips: This quickly comes across as unsympathetic/ judgmental.
> Hands in pockets: This makes the speaker look insecure & unprofessional.
> Pen in hand: Find yourself playing with the pen, either unknowingly or out of anxiety. No one wants to hear clicks. This can be incredibly distracting.…click… This can be incredibly distracting.
> Crossed arms: It may be comfortable for you, but it signifies resistance & detachment. You'll subconsciously build a barrier & come off as defensive to your audience.
Use gestures as often to emphasize statements. Do not think about how often you should gesture. Feel free when using your hands whenever you feel it's required. Gestures attract attention but do not go overboard. Use gestures strategically. The audience will follow your hands & be interested in what you have to say.
Walking Around
Avoid walking back & forth all the time – give the purpose & meaning of your move. For example, move when you want to exemplify something from a different point of view.
Eye contact
Eye contact with the audience is key to a good presentation. Keep eye contact with each audience member, but only one person at a time. Most of us get anxious when speaking in front of several people. Our gaze shifts from one audience member to the subsequent; we wonder what they're thinking — and we become insecure. If you focus on only one person at a time, it will feel like you're having a one-on-one dialogue. In addition, each audience will feel like you're communicating to them directly – a positive & personal interaction that ensures you'll have their attention.
Keep in the sense that if the room is large, you'll probably not be able to make eye contact with everyone present. In this situation, split your audience into blocs: front, center, back, left, right. 
Facial expressions
> A smile always makes a good impression. When welcoming your audience, you will create a friendly, pleasant atmosphere.
> While presenting facts, such as figures & data, use a neutral facial expression. Emotions will seem out of place here.
> Emphasize important points with raised eyebrows & open eyes. A smile can also enhance the effect.
> To present less-than-optimal data/ results, pull your eyebrows down & squint your eyes a bit. This signals a negative emotion.
> During a rhetorical pause or lose the train of thought, make sure that you keep your mouth closed. This will make you appear calm & confident. Breathe calmly & continue the sentence you have started.
 Correct outfit
We all know looking good is essential, but did you know that your outfit choice can directly influence your body language? Choose comfortable clothes but should be appropriate for the occasion. If you're not comfortable in a suit-and-tie, don't decide to wear one for presentation.
For women: Sure, high heels look elegant, but make sure that you can walk in them during your presentation. 
Avoid wearing clothes that are too colorful. This quickly distracts from your actual presentation & may even make your body language look funny. Coordinate clothing with your background so that you don't "disappear."
Before you start your presentation, inspect that your clothes fit. Are all buttons closed, the zipper of the pants closed. This will enable you to go into the presentation with confidence, only benefiting your body language.
Body language is a presentation tool that can't be ignored. Most of the time, body language happens intrinsically. Nevertheless, it's essential to focus on the correct body language, especially during imporatant presentations. Without a bit of forethought & practice, you can quickly come across as dull, awkward, unmotivated, or unprofessional.
Use our tips & think about incorporating them into your presentation. Don't forget to practice in front of a familiar audience & ask for feedback. With rehearsal, you'll be able to perfect your body language & get the best results from your presentation. Extra tip: Here are some suggestions for Advice To Making an Outstanding PowerPoint Presentation.
We're happy to help you with & questions about body language, general questions about presenting, or PowerPoint presentations themselves. Feel free to Contact Us.