Brittney Schwertly: Does your body language match your message? Join us as we discuss three non-verbal mistakes presenters should avoid.
Narrator: Welcome to the Presentation Mentor podcast, where we uncover the secret ingredients presenters used to woo their audiences and wow their listeners. Whether in a boardroom or a ballroom, you’ll learn how to achieve presentation greatness.
So, prepare yourself for standing ovations. Here are your hosts, Scott and Brittney Schwertly.
Scott Schwertly: Welcome back, everybody! I’m Scott!
Brittney: And, this is Brittney!
Scott: So last week we talked about three non-verbal essentials for public speaking. And, we promised in that episode that we’re gonna circle back around and talk about the non-verbal mistakes.
So we talked about things that you should do and today’s episode we’re gonna talk about things that you should not do when in front of a room. So, definitely excited to kind of unpack these three tips for you as we dive in today’s materials. So, just like most episodes here we’ve got journaling about three points that would like to share with you and we’re gonna kick-start here with item number one.
Brittney: Yes! And, that would be close gestures, what’s really funny about this we’ve been preparing for this podcast over the last several days. We will even watch TV and notice that people are doing this but close gestures really is, things like crossing your arms in front of your chest, even doing what? I could have talked about last week, females have a tendency to do which is standing and crossing our legs in a close manner. So, that and turning your back to your audience which I know you have a big problem with.
Scott: Yeah, I mean definitely in the world that I live in, obviously that being presentations you never really want to turn your back to you audience and you know obviously a lot of people can fall or fall on the trap of you know referring to their slides, reading their bullet points or reading their paragraphs.
And, obviously what happens in that processes as you’re essentially turning your back or turning to the side to make that read or to sort of highlight that bullet point when that’s really the last thing you should do or you should be basically focusing on your audience giving them the eye contact they deserved. So, you never wanted to turn your back.
Brittney: Right! What I like to think about this is, having a conversation with someone or even in my day-to-day job,I work in the medical field and I work in the emergency department and interview patients a lot.
So, its, uhm, the number one thing that I do like I talk to fifteen to twenty (15-20) people a day about why they’re in the ER. Now, can you imagine being in the ER and your provider having their back turn to you while they’re asking you questions or they’re explaining the results of your tests and what’s gonna happen. It basically shows non-interest and that you, not only you’re not interested but you don’t have time for someone.
Scott: Yeah! I mean that whole general reality or either turning your back, crossing your arms it does create that close-off guarded, kind of uncaring sort of environment which a really doesn’t translate well for any audience situation. Even, the whole of crossing arms and legs coz I know you mentioned that female can felt guilty to it, male also.
Brittney: I think crossing the legs is the most, likely we feel like its polite or either your taught to cross your legs when you sit and so it make sense that when you stand up to top with, also, you know converse over but it really doesn’t. It makes you seem like your guarded or you’re protecting yourself from harm.
Scott: Yeah! And kind of on that note, hate to admit this but we love sort of trashy, reality TV…..
(Brittney laughing too hard in the background)
Brittney: Like he’s telling all of our secrets!
Scott: Yeah! We love a good season of the bachelor or bachelorette, but, hate to admit this, but we’re actually hammering through ABC’s the proposal.
(Brittney continuously laughing hard)
Brittney: It’s so bad! You guys, please don’t judge us!
Scott: Well, if you’re not familiar with the show, it’s where people, they get ten (10) contestants and they basically show up with the plan to accept an engagement where proposal at the end of, you know, sixty (60) minutes.
Brittney: It’s half pageant, half dating show. It’s ridiculous! But for some reason we love it!
Scott: It’s like Miss America meets, yeah, the bachelor or the bachelorette. But anyway there are an episode that we saw the other day, where you know obviously it takes a lot of guts get up there and actually get engage, and accept their proposal in front of America but a lot of those contestants where actually crossing their legs and crossing their arms and I think a lot of that again is just that security, that comfort but again the unfortunate reality of that is it does make them come across as close-off and not open. So. yeah, definitely something that you need to avoid.
Brittney: Yeah! And it portrays a lack of confidence about yourself.
Scott: Uhm? For sure!
Brittney: And then, when it comes to crossing your arms, again, it I think, we all think when we will see someone uses their arms to cross in front of their chest. It kind of conveys the sense of anger or displeasure or even non-interest again.
Brittney: Which is just the exact opposite of what you want in the audience to perceive about you and we’ll talk about that at the end in point number three but these are three things that I know are your pet-peeves.
Scott: Yeah, for sure!
Brittney: And so now I know this, and now I “Oh my! Look, she’s crossing her legs! You know?” (Laughing)
Scott: And, you know, since we’re on the topic of the show, not only they showcasing some of that insecurity or guardedness with crossing your arms and crossing your legs but there also kind of insecure with even in their positioning and how they move across the stage. You kinda wondered did they actually go to training cause they probably should have, as they’re trying to go, you know, walk the runway and present themselves. And that at least, for our second point here…
Brittney: Scott says this today, “Do they practice walking? Oh my! I don’t think so?”
Scott: Yeah, its just, its very uncomfortable to watch. It’s so bad it’s good but that at least our second point here, well it just positioning and kind of how you carry yourself what you do with your body in general, when up there in front of a room.
So, what we wanna talk about here are, kind of just two things to be mindful of when thinking about your own positioning, when up in front of a room, up there doing your thing, giving your presentations.
So, the first one I want to address with this positioning thing is, the whole idea obviously forgetting if you are listening to this podcast you probably here because you want to improve your presentation and your public speaking skills. So it’s probably a safe that, to assume that you probably use powerpoint or keynote or you some sort of slide accompanied it. I’m sure that probably standard practice for you which is great. We’re not here to talk against powerpoint and presentation design company. So, I’m in favor of always having a visuals but, if you do use slides on your presentation, one simple thing you can do right now is make sure that you always stand left of your slide.
So, like if you’re an audience member you should be, if you’re the audience member, you should be seeing the presenter on the left hand side of the slide.
Scott: And so the thing to keep in mind there..
Brittney: Or left… Sorry! (Laughing)
Scott: Yeah! So basically stand on your right hand side. So, when you’re if you think about just the basic dynamic of a presentation, if you have bullet points, if you have paragraphs, hopefully, you don’t. But if you do have these things on your slide, people are gonna be leading, or reading, sorry, left to right. So, you’re gonna be kind of the main center focus.
So, they see you and then they will read left to right and kinda like a typewriter, they can right back to you and then they read left to right. And so,in doing this, it just helps position you into a place of authority and credibility. It makes it less confusing, less jarred, I guess or awkward so now if you start standing to the right or you keep walking across the slides and things like that, we’ll talk about that in a bit. I don’t wanna devalue the idea moving.
But long story short, stay to the left to the slide if you’re gonna stand stationary and if you need to pick a side, pick that side.
Brittney: Yes! But when it comes to moving it’s really important like, uhm, what I love about where we kinda getting this idea is that, Susan Weinschenk,in her book “100 things every presenter needs to know about people” talks about the importance of standing on the left of your side from the audience perspective but she also talks about how, you know,audiences can get bored and you need to do something every ten (10) minutes and that kind of bring us to the idea of, when it comes to positioning also remember to move. You don’t want to stand stationary with your feet glued to the floor for your entire presentation.
So, every ten (10) minutes, remember to do something. Whether it’s to take a step or, uhm, you know, to take two step forward or ,you know, I’m trying to think of something else that you could do. But move around and gestured towards your slide. Ask the audience a question something to keep them engage and paying attention.
Scott: Yeah! Just like a monotone voice can be, you know, detrimental to the quality of your talk. Being stationary can be detrimental.
So, as Brittney mentioned, you know, move around. Take advantage of those opportunities every a few minutes to switch thing up, tell a story, be more a guess, just animated with your gestures, move left to right. There is a point where you can do a little bit or can become a little bit overkill. But I think, if you can find kind of that “Goldilocks’ approach”…
Scott: A healthy balance!
Brittney: Yeah! And you don’t wanna be a circus performer.
Brittney: What I mean, like “Hey! Guess what’s going on next!” You know, but you do, you don’t wanna stay still. So, from the female perspective, sometimes where we get caught up and this is the shoes that we’re wearing So if you’re not a stiletto-person but yet you think that is what you should be wearing and you’re not used to wearing some type of shoe like that, you’re gonna look uncomfortable, you’re, it’s just kind of portray badly, you’re not going to move because your feet are gonna hurt or you’re gonna start fidgeting with your feet, because your feet hurt. So, makes sure that you wear a comfortable shoe that you look good in and that you can move around and walk without looking awkward.
Scott: Awesome! So, there you have it!
We’ve talked about two of our three main points. So far, we’ve talked about the importance of avoiding things like close gestures. Make sure your positioning is correct. Again, left of your slide. To make sure you’re moving. Don’t stay stationary.
So, we’re gonna take a quick break and then we’re gonna come back and we’re going to talk about point number three, which is probably one of most important, probably the most important of these three.
Brittney: It’s a good one!
Scott: Yeah, definitely! So, we’ll see you here in just, just a few minutes.
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Brittney: Welcome back to the podcast! We are going over three non-verbal mistakes presenters should avoid.
And the first we talked about was close gestures. We also talked about poor positioning when it comes to positioning yourself in front of your audience.
And, the last thing we’re gonna talk about is something that excites both of us which is, well I guess, it doesn’t really excite this, but it should, on the flip, I get you excited which is lack of enthusiasm.
Scott: Yeah, definitely! This is an important one. I know I talked a lot about this when I’m doing corporate training. And, yeah, just the whole idea of being passionate, being enthusiastic, really goes a long way.
In fact, there was a recent study done with some insurance agents and what they found is, those insurance agents that exude in enthusiasm and just generally excitement about what they are doing, what they were selling, actually had thirty seven percent (37%) greater results than their peers and their colleagues.
So that small study alone, you know, is testament to the value of being enthusiastic and being passionate about what you’re doing and what you’re saying and the message that you’re sharing with everyone else.
Brittney: Well, that’s all great! But how do you recommend people show enthusiasm during a presentation or during a public speaking event.
Scott: Yeah! I really think at the end of the day it comes down to kind of your heart and your mindset. And what I mean by heart is, you need to be there for the right reasons and you have to have the right objectives and so if.
What I mean by that, if you’re there with a mindset of, “I just need to get this thing done and over with.” Well, you’re probably not gonna be enthusiastic or passionate.
But if you’re there like, “You know what, I really have something of value and this is maybe something of value to the audience that I could add, something of benefits that’s gonna improve your life and in some sort of way that’s the wonderful goal to have.
And, from that, I think kind of natural outpouring is gonna be enthusiasm and passion. So, one, you have to have the right heart and that kind of ties and loose, ties and closely with having the right mindset.
And, to probably get the right heart, you need to start really developing goals for yourself on really what do you want the audience to get out of this message and how do you want to add value and benefits of their lives. And, if you can start goal setting and getting your mind in the right frame you’ll be set up to win.
Brittney: Yeah! And, I think one of the things that you can do that, is just looking at your presentation or looking at the speech that you’re about to give and what points excite you as a presenter or a public speaker.
And what points do you want to your audience to be excited about? Maybe there is a particular slide or a particular study or statistic that you’re excited to highlight, pick those moments because you’re naturally already excited about these things.
And, it’s really easy to be enthusiastic at those moments. And, I think that will portray, I think when you’re listening to someone, when you’re watching someone, you can just feel how excited they are when they come to a point that mean something to them.
And, then it almost transfers to you as an audience member. You feel that same excitement and that meaning comes to you as well.
Scott: Oh yeah! Enthusiasm is super contiguous.
I know, again, it’s just kind of another example. I’m huge fan of Bear Grylls. There’s a season of my life when I was really into survival-type stuff. Or, if you’re not familiar with Bear Grylls, he’s same as for the discovery show “man versus wild”. He’s got a couples of show on NBC but he’s a survival expert and every time he gets interviewed people asked for Bear, “If you’re gonna go on this big expedition, what’s the number one trait that you want on your team?” And, he always says, “Enthusiasm!”
Because, if I have a team of five, a team of three, a team of ten people, they can turn a dark situation. Or, maybe things are getting gloomy, things are looking bad, I know he’s famous obviously for climbing Mount Everest and again on doing these really crazy things. When things get dark and gloomy things that don’t look great.
This enthusiastic folks, can see the light at the end of the tunnel. They can see the brighter side of the situation and it’s contiguous. It what carries team, it what moves people and again, that same sort of contiguous attitude is what place off well in the presentation environment.
Brittney: And one of the things I actually like to see out of people when they’re showing enthusiasm is facial expressions. I think we’re all taught, when we’re talking on the phone, whether it’s a work at home if you smile, you can hear someone smile in their voice.
And there’s automatically a warmth there. So you can practice as much enthusiasm with your body language as possible but if you’re not smiling or you know showing a facial expression of excitement along with whatever that you’re saying, it’s just not gonna match up. And I think, we all know that quote, I think, it’s just hammered in our heads from elementary school.
It takes forty three (43) muscles to frown and seventeen (17) muscles to smile, so remember your presentation is not a crossfit competition, is not the time to move all your muscles but it is the time to show enthusiasm and excitement. And I know, you have a really good quote that’s one of your favorites.
Scott: Oh yeah! It’s quote by Ferdinand Foch. He talks about, “The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” So, I wanna repeat that, “The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” That really embodies, really everything we’ re talking in here about point number three, which is enthusiasm.
Now, Rob Roy, not to be confused with the Liam Neeson’s Character from the 1990’s. But Rob Roy, his a famous Navy Seals, his written actually a fantastic book about his Navy Seal’s experiences.
Check it out! It’s a great read. But, Rob Roy a famous navy seals said, “Well, that’s the truth that the most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire then light yourself on fire because people will line up to watch you burn.”
And I know, it sounds a little bit morbid but its, there’s so much truth in it. Enthusiasm, passion, these things are all very very contagious.
Brittney: I totally agree! You can make five mistakes but when you’re enthusiastic about what you’re saying and, you know, have the mindset of being present and contributing towards your audience, they will forgive you.
And so, if you can show up with some of enthusiasm, I think, it will, you know, take you far and your presentation and public speaking career so…
Brittney: That’s wrap us up for today! It was a good one.
Scott: Yeah, definitely!
Brittney: So, as a reminder, we’ve talked about three non-verbal mistakes that you should avoid when presenting or public speaking
Number one is closed gestures.
Number two is poor positioning.
And number three is lack of enthusiasm.
So, if you take nothing away from this, we hope you at least garner some of enthusiasm for your next talk and join us at the next time
Scott: We’re gonna talk about, your voice! And, the power of it! And some simple do’s and don’ts.
Brittney: Thanks for joining us on this episode. We’re excited to see you next time!
Narrator: Thanks for joining Scott and Brittney on another episode of The Presentation Mentor Podcast.
If you are looking to improve your presentation skills, be sure to check out The Presentation Mentor Online Course at presentationmentor.com.
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