More than half of all human communication takes place nonverbally. You are constantly sending nonverbal messages – even as you read these words. When you speak in public, your listeners judge you and your message based on what they see as well as on what they hear. Here’s how to use your body to effectively enhance your message.
GESTURES: YOUR BODY SPEAKS
When you present a speech, you send two kinds of messages to your audience. While your voice transmits a verbal message, a vast amount of information is being visually conveyed by your appearance, your manner, and your physical behavior
Research shows that more than half of all human communication takes place nonverbally. When you speak before a group, your listeners base their judgment of you and your message on what they see as well as upon what they hear.
In public speaking, your body can be an effective tool for adding emphasis and clarity to your words. It’s also your most powerful instrument for convincing an audience of your sincerity, earnestness, and enthusiasm. However, if your physical actions are distracting or suggest meanings that do not agree with your verbal message, your body can defeat your words. Whether your purpose is to inform, persuade, entertain, motivate, or inspire, your body and the personality you project must be appropriate to what you say. To become an effective speaker, you must understand how your body speaks. You can’t stop sending your audience nonverbal messages, but you can learn to manage and control them. That’s the purpose of this manual: To help you learn to use your entire body as an instrument of speech. As you read on, you’ll learn how nonverbal messages affect an audience, what kinds of information they transmit, how nervousness can be alleviated by purposeful physical actions, and how to make your body speak as eloquently as your words. Included are how-to sections on proper speaking posture, gestures, body movement, facial expression, eye contact, and making a positive first impression on an audience. Also featured is a special evaluation form that can help you identify your body’s spoken image. With it you’ll be able to determine your nonverbal strengths and challenges and eliminate any physical behavior that detracts from what you say during a speech. You can then use your body as a tool to make you a more effective speaker.