If you’ve got an important presentation or speech coming up, then you’ll no doubt be anxious about your delivery. You’ll be keen to come across as powerful, confident and with belief in what you’re communicating. Weak recitations of facts aren’t memorable for anybody.
According to well-known psychologist Albert Mehrabian, body language is key to powerful communication and conveys the majority of our emotions – followed by tone of voice and words chosen.
Powerful Body Language
In Harvard faculty member Amy Cuddy’s body language TED talk, she reveals her research found that simply by holding an ‘assertive’ body posture, testosterone in the brain was increased while stress hormone cortisol was decreased in both men and women.
This leads to an increase in confidence levels and a reduction in stress – meaning that people feel more powerful, and are even perceived as so by others around them.
‘Acting’ with Confidence
We’ve examined ways that acting can improve your presentation skills before, so let’s look to dramatic wisdom once more: influential Russian actor Michael Chekhov, whose techniques were adopted superstar actors from Clint Eastwood to Marilyn Monroe, believed in ‘inner states of the mind’ and that confidence could be brought about by using psycho-physical approaches – which stress the connection between the physical and the psychological to generate emotions that lead to authentic, truthful expression in gestures.
Gestures are key to expressing ourselves – they are what add intensity and the emphasis to what we say and they also help us to capture the attention of our audiences.
Confidence in Public Speaking
If what Amy Cuddy and Michael Chekhov are telling us is true, then what practical steps can we take to influence the way we are presenting ourselves and our material on stage?
We can be more assertive and more expressive with our body language and gestures to display a greater sense of conviction. Being conscious of your movements will help you to come across with the authority. Making use of these tips won’t change the quality of your presentation content, but with a great script and slide, they’ll help capture your audiences attention and keep it.