A problem you may have in public speaking is how to move effectively and what to do with your hands. There are no absolutes in being expressive in your delivery aside from exhibiting no expression, the latter of which is boring and most certainly the fastest way to put your audience to sleep.
So how do you move when your nervousness is in control? Let’s look at the situation from a different point of view. When you are in conversation with your friends, your family, or your colleagues, do you move? Do you smile when you speak or possibly frown when in doubt? Do you move your hands or gesture while talking? If you are standing, do you move your weight from one leg to the other from time to time?
The above scenarios are all normal means of expression when in conversation. If you are not sure whether you move or not, it would be a good idea to video record yourself while in conversation. You may feel awkward in the beginning but after a couple of minutes, you will forget the camera is there.
Study the playback and watch yourself. If, like most people, you are speaking with some life, some emotion, some form of expression, then I suggest you do the same thing while presenting. Remember, your audience is there to here you speak, not someone else. In that sense, they came to hear the real you: the person you are in conversation – not some stiff, expressionless individual, spitting out some words in front an audience.
Color or speaking with emotion is very individual and that includes your facial expression and body movement as well. Some people with speak with more color, some less. There is no right or wrong with color aside from having no color which I mentioned earlier. What I do not suggest is to make movement for the sake of movement. Whatever you do on stage should look natural.
I worked with a woman who kept throwing her left arm into the air when she gave her presentation. Afterwards, I asked her what she was doing with her arm. She said that she was a member of Toastmasters and that they had told her that she did not move enough. Unfortunately, Toastmasters did not show her how to move her body correctly. This is where a video camera can be most beneficial.
If you don’t move while speaking, your audience will. And, that is not what you want. Keep them mesmerized and focused on you and your words by treating them as if you were having a conversation in your living room with your family or friends or standing around the water cooler in your office.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To get started improving your presentation skills, click Voice Training and Presentation Skills for Nancy’s free ebook.