Body Language and Presentation Skills

When it comes to giving a presentation remember that the best audio visual aid is you. There are 10 key things you should be doing:

1. Maintain eye contact with the audience and scan the audience at random. Never repeatedly look at the multi-media screen or the ceiling!

2. Use your hands and voice to conduct the presentation, remember palms up indicates uncertainty, honesty and doubt, whilst palm down indicates facts and certainty.

3. Repeat key phrases to add emphasis. If you have three major points to say then number them – “point one is…..point two is…point three is… I have covered the three points.”

4. Use the visual aids to structure your presentation. Just put key words on the screen, it will prevent you just reading what is on the screen.

5. Do not march from one side of the stage to the next or fiddle with pens and equipment. Be animated, which does not mean hands in your pockets!

6. Show enthusiasm in the way you present information – enthusiasm is infectious.

7. If it is a long presentation then break it up with questions or pass round examples of products to get a small measure of audience involvement.

8. Take note of any negative body language in the audience, arms folded, eyes down, shaking heads etc

9. Avoid being distracted by individuals in the audience, the one critical member, or the person who enthusiastically agrees with you by their head nods and smiles. Remember to address the whole audience.

10. Encourage convergence of opinion; look out for subgroups of those that share a common view. Do not disagree but aim to get some form of consensus.

Posted on: November 19, 2012

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Geoff Ribbens

For 20 years Geoff Ribbens was an academic lecturing in Organisational Behaviour and Business Strategy to postgraduate business and personnel management students in several Universities. Since leaving full time academic life in 1990 he has concentrated on training and consultancy in all aspects of organisational behaviour.

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