ALL EYES ON YOU: The power of eye contact and gestures in public speaking [Speak on the Shoulders of Giants]
Audience members feel shy and intruded upon when speakers are overly aggressive. To avoid this, fix your eyes firmly on the floor at all times. Then, pace back and forth as you deliver your speech and stare at the floor, even talking to the floor.
When combined with Point 2, keeping your hands in your pockets and playing with change, you will look very professorial. It especially shows people that you are a very thoughtful and contemplative person.
Did you think there was something off about this week’s public speaking tip?
Hold on! Keep reading.
One of our firm’s education arms, the Institute of Strategy and Valuation, published an article titled, “10 Sure-Fire Ways to Improve Your Presentations: A Light-Hearted Look at Public Speaking.”
Addressing the fear that goes with presenting in front of people, the article presents a humorous look into public speaking—including this week’s sure-fire tip.
We are well aware of the stress everyone goes through when they need to represent their brand or company in front of an audience.
If we could avoid being put in that position, we would.
But… that shouldn’t be the mentality!
According to the article, “If we want to be leaders or achieve anything meaningful in our lives, we will often need to speak to groups, large and small, to be successful.”
Public speaking is an important, learnable skill… we just need to practice.
Yes, it’s easier said than done so we’re here to help and share with you some useful tips!
Looking at this topic from a humorous perspective (instead of the usual serious and fearful way), we know that sure-fire way #7 is actually stating the opposite of what you should actually be doing.
In last week’s article, we talked about POWER PRESENCE and how posture and power dressing help project a confident and professional image in public speaking.
This week, we’ll talk about eye contact and proper gestures.
Whenever you are talking to someone, maintaining eye contact indicates that you are paying attention to the person speaking.
In public speaking, eye contact with your audience makes you look confident, believable, and professional.
This keeps their attention focused on listening to your speech.
Truly a subtle yet powerful way to keep your audience engaged all throughout!
Maintaining eye contact is not simple. Not everyone is comfortable with speaking to others eye to eye. This is something that can only be improved with practice and actual experience.
You can also combine eye contact with other techniques like the POWER PAUSE to help you emphasize certain points and build-up momentum on other parts of your speech.
Capturing the audience’s attention is crucial, and eye contact is a very powerful way to keep them focused on your speech or presentation.
Gestures are another way to project a confident image during a speech or presentation.
These actions help emphasize certain points in a speech, helping the audience understand the importance of what you are talking about.
Putting your hands in your pockets signals the audience that you’re not confident or comfortable speaking or presenting. Lack of gestures can also make you look stiff, and even worse, leave important points and transitions unnoticed or with less impact.
Here are some gestures to try during a speech:
Hand over heart – This gesture shows the audience that your topic is of personal and emotional importance.
Counting with fingers – Use this to indicate a number or statistic, helping the audience have a visual idea of the data presented.
Pointing – This is an effective and powerful gesture that will allow the audience to turn their attention to where you point at. This helps draw attention to an important section of your presentation, like a slide with data, or towards a member of the audience.
Small and big hand motions – You can emphasize the magnitude of the point you are making by using different hand motions. Larger hand motions can be used to show the main points in your topic, signaling your audience that it is a part that they should pay close attention to.
While all of these gestures help, you don’t have to include them in every presentation. Use these gestures appropriately and as naturally as possible. You can rehearse certain gestures, but looking too staged is something your audience might not appreciate.
Projecting a confident and professional image is important in public speaking since this helps you engage with your audience better.
Eye contact keeps your audience focused on you and what you’re presenting. Emphasizing key ideas and points during a speech using gestures allows your audience to identify important parts of your speech.
Projection is key, and using these two skills will help improve your public speaking, allowing you to craft better speeches and presentations!
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Wednesdays: Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”
In a meeting with one person
…a boardroom with five people
…or a huge venue with hundreds of people
—whatever the situation or setting, it’s very important to learn and eventually master the art of public speaking.
No matter what, you always need to effectively get your message across.
What good is a presentation with awesome content if you don’t deliver it properly?
Every Wednesday, we publish different tips, insights, and secrets on how you can improve your presentation skills to captivate your audience and lead interesting discussions.
The need for great presentation skills applies EVERYWHERE.
(Small meetings with your team, big meetings with your boss, an important marketing pitch, speaking engagements for events with a big audience, etc.)
Learning these skills is not just for the corporate world. Being in other industries such as the Arts, Information Technology, Medicine, and Education while knowing how to present well will definitely give you an edge.
Have that advantage.
Hope you’ve found this week’s public speaking tip interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s Speak on the Shoulders of Giants!
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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