What do you do when you are speaking in public that sends a nonverbal message to your audience and how can you prevent this or at least use it to your advantage?
My entire life I have never been a fan of being in front of a lot of people. Over the years I have gotten to a point where although still nervous I get through it. There are many things that as a speaker I do that play a role in how my message is received by the audience. Communications expert Albert Mehrabian found that 93 percent of message reception in public speaking comes from nonverbal communication (Public Speaking International). 93 percent is huge, which tells me that what I say is not as important as my body language. Over the years in reading many critiques from my superiors I have learned that my three most noticeable non verbals are not moving around the room, being noticeably nervous during the first three to five minutes and lastly there have been times I roll my eyes.
Two of my three non verbal weak points fit together. I find that it helps me to feel less nervous when I remain behind my podium. Since this is a comfort zone for me I tend to remain there the entire time as apposed to moving around or using my hands to emphasize what I am saying. Often this makes my audience feel that I am speaking at them instead of to them. IT does not allow me to bring out my natural personality. Connecting with my audience is important and working the room will assist with that. By overcoming the need to hide behind the podium I will in turn appear less nervous and be more involved with the audience. I have found that the good critiques I have received have come after a class I have thouroughly prepared for. I didn’t just read the material and know it but I would actually go through the motions in the classroom prior to the class.
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