According to Cisco, body language and voice tone account for 63 percent of communication. What's surprising is how few of us rehearse the way we will move on stage during presentations. So much time goes into developing our story and memorizing our lines. Many times, this allows us to deliver good presentations but not exceptional ones. Then, we'll see someone on stage who absolutely dazzles us, whose amazing presence captivates the audience and sells his or her vision. While we believe many people are born with this talent, in truth a lot of it comes down to body language.
To boost your charisma in front of the crowd and go from good to great in your next presentation, try remembering these four rules.
1. Tell your story with your eyes
When people talk about great speakers, many times they say they felt like the presenter was staring straight at them. Most times, unless there's something weird going on, that is not the case. Most likely, the speaker is doing an exceptional job with his or her gaze. This can be easily achieved by following a few simple rules. First, ditch the notecards or speech papers. They'll force you to take your focus away from the audience, and you'll come off as boring and unprepared. Instead, stare toward the back of the room.
A tactic that I've learned that works well is switching my eyes from the left, middle, and right. When doing this, make a point, pause, and then switch your gaze. The pause adds effect, and encourages your audience to home in on the next big point you're going to make. A good rule of thumb is that your eyes should never leave your crowd. This is especially true when you are using a slide deck. You can glance occasionally, but never look at your slides for more than a second or two. Captivate your audience members by making them believe that they are the only ones in the room.
2. Get your hands involved
When you hear someone explaining something exciting, have you ever noticed how much use of the hands is involved? Hand gestures help build excitement, and aid a speaker in telling the story. When you're presenting, make sure your hands aren't awkwardly by your side or folded behind your back. There's no reward for looking like a robot or statue. Move your hands around to help you orchestrate your point. Using your body in this way will also make you seem much more natural, which helps the audience believe that you are confident.
3. Open up
You can use body language to open up to the audience. One way to do this is to get close to the edge of the stage. The more room you remove between you and your listeners, the more they feel like they are a part of the action.
Another tactic is making sure you never fold your hands or legs in front of you. Have an open posture. Have you ever heard that you shouldn't cross your arms when networking? The same rule applies to public speaking. Take your arms and bring your hands out, not in. You'll appear much more open and charismatic to your spectators.
4. Smile as much as possible
There are so many psychological advantages to smiling that you should do it as often as possible. First, your confidence will go up. This will be especially handy when you're freaking out before going on stage. You know those times when you feel like your heart is about to explode, and you're sweating up a storm? Next time you're in that situation, put on the biggest smile you have. Your body will start to relax, and you'll be able to focus more on your presentation.
Your audience will also see you as much more relaxed. People who are happy and confident smile more. Look at Grant Cardone, one of the best salesmen of all time. I don't think he's been upset once in his life. But that in part is what has made him an amazing seller and awesome presenter.