Whether you are presenting to the board of directors, training your new staff members, or holding a meeting with a key client, how you manage your body language matters.
Communication experts claim that as much as 93% of your communication depends on your delivery. Today, let’s look at a few basic but oh-so-critical delivery skills. This week, take time to notice how you are managing your non-verbals, or ask someone you trust to give you specific feedback on your posture, hands, voice, face or eye contact.
- Check your posture. If you are standing, place your feet several inches to shoulder width apart, distributing your weight evenly. In this position you should feel grounded and secure. Watch newscasters and professional speakers; they rarely sway or rock. If sitting, plant your feet on the floor and sit up tall from your rib cage. From this position you look confident and can project your voice with more authority.
- Neutralize your hands. If you put your hands in your pockets, clasp them behind your back, or lock them into a fig-leaf position, chances are you will not use them effectively. Start with your hands relaxed and at your sides, and you’ll be more likely to gesture. Instead of holding back your gestures, let them go a bit. You will look more engaged and engaging.
- Improve your voice. To get more volume and better enunciation, try opening your mouth a little bit wider. Check for tension or tightness in your face and release it; try relaxing your jaw by massaging gently right in front of your ears. Be sure to keep breathing, preferably before you speak and during pauses.
- Engage with your eyes. You might be compelled to look at your slides or papers in front of you, or over the heads of your audience. You might stare at the top-ranking audience member, or the one friendly face in the room. Instead, try to keep your eye contact moving slowly around the room, one person at a time, including everyone equally.
- Relax your face. Check a mirror to see if your face looks tight or tense. Look for tension in your eyebrows, forehead, between your eyes and around your mouth. If you see tension, try to relax your face into a more neutral expression. Soften your eyes. Smile.
Start today to be more aware of your delivery skills, to make good choices, and to build new habits. For example, if you have the habit of mumbling, you might not even be aware of it. Once you discover this habit, work to enunciate more clearly as in Tip 3 above, and keep at it until you have created a positive habit of enunciating, one that will serve you well and which will become nearly automatic.
What other delivery skills would you like to hear more about? What good suggestions would you add?