Any good Public Speaking Course will teach you that over 50% of your message is conveyed through body language. Body language is a combination of your eye contact, facial expressions, posture, and your gestures. They all have an impact on how you come across to your listeners. Leaving any part of your body language out, and you run the risk of only telling half the story. Get used to using body language whenever you speak, especially when the stakes are high.


The Noble Gesture


Gesturing refers to hand and body movements that support a spoken or unspoken message. It has a direct effect on the rhythm of your speech. Gestures can punctuate, emphasize, support, and add nuance to everything you say. Where you land your gestures will determine their effectiveness. You should start the delivery of your gesture slightly ahead of the word you want to emphasize. Your Public Speaking Course will show you how this approach will aid in the sense of flow. Ensure you hold one gesture until the impulse for the next gesture allows for unspoken continuity in your storytelling.


Your gestures should be full and grounded in your body in a way that makes you feel connected.  Of course, gesturing always needs to be adjusted to scale. You can base these adjustments on the number of listeners, the size of the venue, or the type of media. Don’t forget that gesturing is also an important part of nonvisual communication. Abandoning full gestures when your listeners can’t see you risks sounding disconnected and potentially losing your forward momentum.


Follow the Face


Facial expressions are an important part of your overall body language. Your Public Speaking Course allows you to see some of the most distracting habits.  A constant smile and habitual lip movements can be distracting and give off the unintended perceptions of being disingenuous or nervous. Eyebrows that are too expressive can be attributed to a lack of supportive gesturing. Facial expressions should be allowed to develop without articulation or gesturing issues. Your face should support the message you’re sharing.


The 80 / 50 Rule


Getting your point across means connecting with your listeners. The right balance of eye contact is something I refer to that as the 80 / 50 Rule. It describes the percentage of time you should be making direct eye contact when listening and when speaking. As a listener you are generally making direct eye contact with the speaker 80% of the time. However, when you’re speaking, you look at your listener only about 50% of the time. Obviously, the percentages keep shifting as each individual changes roles in the conversation. The lesser percentage when speaking means that you are looking away more often as you continue from one thought to the next. This allows your listener an unguarded moment to look into your thought process.


The fear of losing a listener’s attention can lead to too much eye contact. A speaker who locks eyes and won’t let go is guilty of the Death Stare. When a listener becomes aware of too much eye contact coming from a speaker, they feel like they are the ones being put on the spot. This can make the connection a little too intense, a little uncomfortable and a little creepy.


Forward Momentum


In your Public Speaking Course you will learn that how you stand or sit when speaking has an impact too. When seated, always lean a bit forward to project the energy necessary to hold a listener’s attention. When standing infant of your listeners, imagine a rectangular rug under your feet. Divide it into six equal squares. Move from one to square to the next level, pausing for 45-60 seconds to establish in a square. Utilizing the Rectangle of Authority will project that you are grounded and in charge of driving the bus.


Own the Silence


Many speakers consider the silence between spoken words to be “awkward pauses” or “awkward silence”. The individual who can own the silence can easily own the room, or at least, exude an enormous amount of confidence. Don’t try to hide that you are collecting your ideas and determining what you’re going to say next. Your comfort in owning the silence speaks volumes in regard to your confidence.