Body Language Myths and Best Practices for Speakers
There is a lot of nonsense surrounding the issue of body language for public speakers and presenters. For decades, people have misinterpreted a study purporting to show that 55% of all communication flows from an individual’s body language, 38% your voice, and a mere 7% coming from the words you speak.
At first blush, this sounds incredibly interesting and plausible. Communications trainers absolutely love this and mention it as often as possible because it makes them seem more valuable. And, it makes their skills seem universally relevant because they don’t have to know the content or substance of any industry!
There’s only one problem. This is complete nonsense!
If you stop to think about it, if this were true, it would mean somebody could speak to you for an hour in Russian, or some other language, you don’t speak, and you would understand 93% of all their messages.
How do you think that would work? Obviously, you would understand zero of what they’re talking about.
So what did this 1969 study from UCLA really reveal? What it found was if you said just a couple of words to somebody and you used radically different body language or vocal tones, then the body language and tones would have the stronger impact.
For example, if I said to you “I love you,“ ad I had a nice smile on my face, and said it with a soft, loving tone of voice, that would have one meaning. However, if I said exactly the same thing, with a tremendously angry scowl on my face, arms crossed, and a contemptuous tone of voice, my meaning would be completely different. The angry body language and tones would send a message more powerful than the “love” message.
This is starting to make more sense, isn’t it? But obviously, this has little relevance for most business people giving business presentations, talks, briefings, and panel discussions. I’m assuming you’re not telling your audiences that you love them and doing it with complete anger and contempt with your body language and voice, right?
But there are a lot of dos and don’ts you should follow if you want to have great body language for your next presentation. But remember, your messages, your ideas, and your stories, and the value you deliver from your words are, what’s most important. Your body language can help your audience connect with you and focus on your ideas, better, or it can drive them away.
I’ve created a new video for you right here, that will give you an overview of what’s most important to know when it comes to the body language you should use in your next presentation. Please check it out here.
Some executives are still worried that they are coming across stiff or unprofessional, no matter what they do with their body language, so they like to get professional feedback in real time. That’s why some sign up for our High Stakes Presenter Program (www.highstakespresenter.com). You may want to check it out now as well.
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