If I were to name one thing that people use to judge others before even talking to or meeting with them, I would say “Body Language” aloud in a heartbeat. Researches have proved it multiple times that it is the body language that is decisive in presentations, crucial interviews, general life and in winning arguments. Now body language is not a random art. It is full of nitty gritty details on which you can focus and learn this art. Dananjaya Hettiarachchi is the Toastmasters International world champion of public speaking. He recently revealed some tips and tricks using which you can ace any interview, presentation or small talk. Even if you are depressed or anxious about something, you can hide this by sticking to the best body language practices.
It’s directly coming from the evolutionary psychology. Whenever humans are nervous or tense, they tend to hide or protect their main and vital organs. So you have seen people fold their hands around their chest, take out their hands in front of their bodies, contract their bodies. You must never do that if you want to vibe a good body language. The main posture of your body must be open, and without any cover. But there is a fine line between open and confrontational. We are not preparing for a war. The intent is to be pleasant and confident. No matter what hiccup you come across your speech or presentation, never cover your body and don’t touch your hair, ear, nose while talking. This is the red sign of low confidence.
Here is the second tip from Hettiarachchi. Always expose your palms in front of your audience while talking. This creates a sense of connection and confidence. Hettiarachchi says that whenever we look at the inside of our hands, that is, the palms, we feel relaxed. The opposite side, outer side of the hands, must not be in front of the audience during the talk as it communicates aggression and protection. Here is the pose of Hettiarachchi during a public talk showing how to use your inside palms to better connect with the listeners.
You must acclimatize yourself with the stage. If you are not feeling easy to move around the stage, your body will automatically constrict, and you will cover your body, defying the first rule we mentioned above. Remember that stage fear is real. But you should ponder over your fears and think that it’s all an illusion practically. Stage is nothing but a tool to make you show clearly to the audience. Being there will not pose an existential threat to you. Just speak pleasantly and in a flow, move around, explore the complete stage and walk over it.
What if you don’t have a stage and you are supposed to talk over a podium. Here is what you should NEVER do: Never touch the podium. As soon as you touch the podium, you will lean over it, constrict your body, contract, and all of your posture will depend over its structure, making the body language negative. Just put your notes or computer on the podium, and use your hands (palms) for gestures. I would recommend always using a projector to project notes or computer screen on the wall and come outside of the podium completely in front of the audience. It all boils down to being open, full posture, expanded posture and a bit loud voice.
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