Your body is distracting me.

No, this is not a post about lust, temptation or other physical weaknesses. Kevin does a good job of scratching that surface here. This is yet another post about communication and how we sometimes sabotage our efforts.

So far we have touched on the elements of every speaking situation and filler words. Last week we even deviated from oral communication and talked about writing a bit. Today I would like to move back to the dark verbal art but I would like to focus on the non-verbal elements that we many times don’t consider when we step up to present out message.

Body Language

Body language is just as important to your message as how you say it. Have you ever watched a speaker and wondered if they have ever fallen asleep during their own talk? Or how about the speaker who was so energetic that you felt like you had run a marathon when it was done? The fact of the matter is, how speakers carries themselves is extremely important. To demonstrate I thought I would share a few bad stage habits that occur when a speaker is not aware of that their own body while presenting.

The Statue – This is the person who stands right behind the pulpit and never moves or flinches or anything. Half way through you just want them to lean or something.

The Pacer – This person walk back and forth across the stage. They never pause, they just pace. Watching this speaker is like watching a tennis match where no one misses the ball.

The Fidgeter – I am this person. Keep everything out of my reach during a presentation. If I can get my hands on it I will mess with throughout the whole message. This is why I have nothing on stage when I am speaking. I have gotten better. There are some extreme cases where even with the absence of stuff the Fidgeter will turn to items in their pocket, glasses and even their own facial hair.

The Swiveler – I was this person only once. I remember it like it was just yesterday. It was my first time to speak with one of those chairs that swivel. Back then I never stood up at all, which could be another problem altogether. This particular message was video taped and in the spirit of becoming a better speaker, I watched it. Throughout the entire message I was swiveling back and forth. To make matter worse…I was also fidgeting with the mic stand. I’ve come a long way since then.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means but hopefully you get my point. When speaking…control yourself. Every portion of your presentation should be supported and not distracted by your body language. Public speaking isn’t something you just get up and do. It’s a skill that must be examined, studied and practiced. At least this is true if you want to be effective.