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10 Body Language Mistakes that Destroy Presentations


There are certain stage etiquettes that we are taught very early in life. Anyone who has participated in a debate or performed a skit onstage will know that having your back at the audience is unacceptable. Unless the skit or the exact act demands that you have your back to the audience, you should never turn around. Many presenters, including some veterans, commit the mistake of turning to their presentations which is usually behind them. You should be at the side of your presentation. You shouldn’t need to look at what slide you have on or what content is presented there. As a presenter, you should know what you are showing up on the screen or slides.

There are many aspects of body language like this that you need to perfect for impressive and impeccable presentations. One such aspect is how you speak. Don’t speak too fast or too slow, too loudly or too softly. Here are some other quintessential aspects of body language that you should work on for your presentations.

1) Do not stand cross legged.
Don’t stretch your legs sideways to a seemingly unpleasant extent. Relax, you don’t need to stand as if you are in attention at a parade and you don’t need to be rigid. But you must be upright, legs straight and your hands by your side. You can raise your arms keeping the elbows fixed to point at presentations. You can stretch out your arm to point at the audience but other than that don’t move your hands erratically. When you do point at the audience, don’t use one finger. Use your hand, all the fingers or at least three.

2) Do not stick to one place on the stage unless there is a podium or desk.
If you are standing on an open stage, move around. Move from one corner to another, explore the depth of the stage and also use the lights to your advantage. While you move, don’t move rapidly. Don’t take long strides and definitely don’t move as if you are dragging your feet. Take gentle strides but calculated ones. Don’t indulge in missteps.

3) Always maintain eye contact with your audience.
Scan the audience with your eyes. If you find an engaging crowd that is corresponding with you through gestures like nodding heads or engrossed eyes, then you should focus on these people to get encouraged but don’t ignore the rest of the crowd. Don’t look down at the chairs or feet of the audience and don’t look at the ceiling or at the far back all the time. Strike a balance.

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