Public speaking professionally is a skill and art. It can be learned. The statistics regarding retention of speeches to an audience is shrinking. The reason is that most speakers spend an enormous amount of time researching, writing, rewriting and rewriting their scripts. Statistically only 7% of every speech can be recalled by most listeners. The content of the spoken word is not as important as the body language of the speaker. There is a balance between gestures, eye contact, movement, energy, passion, poise that must be viewed and experienced by an audience. This accounts for 55% of every speech given. Body language consists of facial expressions, hand gestures, body postures and use of space all interacting to create an overall impression. Facial expressions usually convey how you feel. Gestures emphasize what you mean and postures explain who you are. There are numerous body language errors that speakers forget to perfect. Body language errors include posture, gestures, clothing, hairstyle, grooming, spatial relationships, eye contact, swaying, nervous tics, hands shaking, rubbing of hands, pacing back and forth and many more. Watching speakers from different countries can be an excellent learning tool. The exceptional speakers all possess similar qualities of exhibiting strong non verbal communication skills. They also move their audiences with emotion. Expressing emotion through body language can be challenging but that is where the 38% of the tonality of the voice is spoken. The high percentage of non verbal communication skills dates back to prehistoric times before language as we know it today existed. Our body language is the foundation of all presentations, added to by our vocal ability and lastly our message. So next time you have to give a presentation spend at least half of the time practicing, practicing and practicing your body language in providing the communication. You will be surprised at the positive feedback you will receive by your audience and be able to speak like an international public speaker.
Hi Betty. There’s a lot to like in this post, but the part that really had me nodding my head was where you said “they also move their audiences with emotion.” I think this is critical.
Last year I was having a conversation with a former judge from the world championships of public speaking, and he said me that: “The audience does not remember your speech as you wrote it. They remember your opening, your close, and the thread of gold running through your speech.” The thread of gold, of course, is your message. And great messages have emotional impact.
In fact the best way to get to your audience’s head is to first go through their heart. Lance Miller (2005 World Champ) goes so far as to suggest that 50% of a speech’s effectiveness is found in your (the speaker’s) ‘life force’ – which can be translated into the emotional conviction and sincerity that you have for your message.
With this in mind, I think you’re making an excellent point for your readers, because conveying emotional sincerity is so very important as a speaker, and a large part of how we do that is through body language.
I’m glad I found your post. I’ll be back to check out some of your articles. All the best…