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Body Language of Powerful Leaders

Body Language of Powerful Leaders

Body Language of the Leaders

In the carefully staged meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un, despite the intention to set an equal stage, Trump got the upper hand in the body language game.

Power Patting

Trump was the first to draw his hand and the handshake lasted almost twelve seconds and incorporated several ‘power pats’, issued by Trump.

Before they entered the building, Trump touched Kim Jong-un either on his back arm or his back several times more. This gesture appears caring, as though the older man were guiding, the younger. But what the power patting gesture really says is, ‘I’m in control”.

At the end of the meeting, there was some more back patting, this time it was reciprocated by Kim, but Trump had to have the last pat.

Side by Side

With a neutral setting of sitting side by side, the smaller man looked even more uncomfortable.
Kim appeared to be making an effort to lean in towards Trump, but he looked awkward as he perched towards the edge of the chair, as though he was not sure if he would remain seated.

As they sat in silence posing for photographs, Trump held his hands in his signature ‘steeple’ pose which is a sign of confidence, but his fingers were nervously tapping.

To Smile or Not to Smile

For the most part, Trump remained stony-faced with his usual half smirk uneven smile and narrowed eyes. Kim is usually seen smiling throughout his public appearances (it has been reported that a smile was edited onto his face on photos aired on Russian TV), but his nervousness gave him a frozen ‘deer in headlights’ look, and the times when he did smile it looked forced.

There was one particular smile during this meeting, with an upturned mouth and teeth showing – it came across as awkward.

It’s all in the eyes

Trump looked directly into Kim’s eyes whenever he could. There are cultural differences regarding eye contact, and it appeared that Trump used that to his advantage. There were moments when Kim’s eyes were looking to the floor or quickly darting around the room again a sign of lack of confidence.

The light banter between Trump and the media produced a puzzled look on Kim’s face. Strange, that Trump would comment on his appearance and the need to have ‘handsome photos’, I believe that there was an underlying message that Trump was demonstrating that he had control over the media.

Kim looked like a fish out of the water, while Trump clearly took and held the position of alpha male throughout the meeting.

Here’s what Fox Business had to say on the issue of the body language of the leaders. Tonya Reiman, body language expert shares her opinion.

Image Wikimedia Commons

The comments in this article are purely my observation.

 

How Can I Help You?

f you are looking for a keynote speaker for your next event I have several speaking topics. Let’s have a chat about how I can help make your next event a success.

If you would like to work with an experienced and certified Public Speaking and Business Storytelling Coach to help you prepare and deliver a pitch, award or conference presentation then let’s chat about how we can work together. Wherever you are located in the world we can work together via Zoom or if you are based in Australia we can work together in person.

If you’d like a complimentary analysis of your speaking style and message or you’d like to chat about how I can help you transform your communication then please get in touch.

As a Certified World Class Speaking and Storytelling Coach, I’ll help you mine, refine and deliver captivating stories for your business or brand. Whether it is the boardroom, ballroom, platform, podium or stage, together we will craft powerful presentations with compelling stories that are hard to forget.

I help leaders who want to make an impact with their message through speaking and storytelling so they can be confident, memorable and credible as a communicator.

 

Presentation Skills Body Language – Presence and Public Speaking

Presentation Skills Body Language – Presence and Public Speaking

Presentation skills body language – Have you ever been to a function and noticed all heads in the room turn to look at one person?

Have you been in the audience when a speaker mesmerised those in the room?

People who exude confidence and charisma have a presence and the ability to ‘own the room’.

Presentation skills body language – Most of us have to learn presence

Presence is one of those mysterious things that some people just have. But most of us have to learn it and earn it.

People want to listen to people with presence. We take notice of others with presence. People that have an impact have a powerful presence.

When working on your presentation skills and body language, consider four key factors:

  • Your voice
  • Your appearance
  • Your stance
  • Your body language
presentation skills body language presence

How you sound

Some people have those smooth voices that are a dream to listen to, most of us have to work at it. A compelling voice commands presence.

So how do you improve your voice?

Read out loud in different voices

The good news is that we can work on our voices. One simple tip is simply to read out loud, whenever you can. If you have an audience of children, use your big, animated and, funny voices.

This simple tip of reading out loud to children works well. Don’t worry if there are no small children around. I have fur babies; they never tire of listening to a story!

Work on your breathing to increase your presence

Another easy to implement tip when considering your presentation skills and body language is to work on your breathing. The quality of your voice is determined by your breath quality. Work on improving the capacity of your diaphragm so that you can project your voice with ease. You will sound better, and you will look calmer and more confident.

Work on improving the capacity of your diaphragm so that you can project your voice with ease. You will sound better, and you will look calmer and more confident.

Warm up your voice before you speak and practice some exercises that strengthen your diagram. Try breathing in and out through a straw (not while you are speaking of course!), and practice diaphragmatic breathing instructions on how to do this

Diaphragmatic breathing will boost the power of your voice

1. Lie down on your back on the bed or floor. Place your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent. Focus on your breathing for a minute and try to tune in with which parts of your body your breath reaches.

2. Place both hands on your belly, just above your navel. Watch how your breathing responds. Notice how your belly expands as you inhale and retract as you exhale. Let this happen, without forcing it.

3. Then bring your attention to your hands as they rest on your bellow, and notice how your hands raise up as you inhale. HOld that breath or about 5 seconds. Then lower your hands slowly as you exhale all of your air. Repeat, 5 or 6 times, breathing through the nose.

4. Once you feel comfortable with this exercise, on the inhale as your hands come down say out loud the vowels A-E-I-O-U.

Once you can breathe deep down into your belly, you will have more breath control and therefore more voice control.

Take your time

Speak at a steady pace and embrace silences and pauses – it’s not a race to the finish line. People who are present take their time and own the space – all of it; both physically with their stance, with the air they breathe, and with the words they languish.

How you look

If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you will project confidence. It’s hard to exude presence if you feel uncomfortable. Dress for the occasion and then forget how you look, focus on being present and in the moment.

The usual tips for presentation skills body language apply here: Practice standing tall, exercises for posture or regular yoga class work wonders. Aim to stand with an open posture, which means avoiding leg crossing arms folding hand-clasping as well as hands behind back or in pockets. Aim to have your hands where others can see them. It is a sign of trust.

Own the space

Take in the space around you, breath in the space and own the space. Move with purpose, practice stillness, and walk with your head held high. People graced with presence are captivating to watch and listen to because their body language is commanding, confident and calm.

Be happy

Remember to smile; it will help you feel relaxed and will send the signal that you are happy to be speaking to your listeners and they are in good hands. If you look miserable, you can’t expect your audience to be interested or excited about you being there.

How you feel

It’s okay to feel nervous when you have to present to an audience. Those sweaty palms, shaky hands and butterflies are all part of our physiological response. Stand up straight and remember to breathe. Be prepared for the moment look confident, and you will feel more confident. When you are ready to step up to the platform to speak, now is not the time to worry about last-minute details. Now is the time to focus and be 100% in the moment.

Don’t try to lose the butterflies leverage them.

No-one needs to know what you are feeling on the inside. If you are feeling nervous (or terrified), keep that to your self.

An opportunity to serve

Appear to others like you are enjoying the experience. Speaking in front of an audience is an opportunity. As speakers we are there to serve, it’s never about us. As speakers, it is our job to make our audience feel comfortable; and if we are feeling awkward, then the chances are, our audience will feel awkward. If you can help them relax, they are more likely to be receptive to your message.

People with presence are charming and captivating. They are memorable, and they get asked back. Don’t worry if it doesn’t come naturally to you, work at it until it feels natural.

Aim for being present over being polished any time.

When you can touch and teach with your message, you will create a connection. If you focus on the tools and techniques or the mechanics of speaking, you will be aiming for perfection.

Connection trumps perfection. Be yourself and strive to create an environment where you can offer the best version of yourself and be fully present. Enjoy the moment.

Want to learn more about presentation skills and body language? As a Certified World Class Speaking and Storytelling Coach, I help my business clients mine, refine and deliver captivating stories for their business or brand. Whether it is the boardroom, platform, podium or stage, I help craft powerful presentations with compelling stories that are hard to forget.

Find out about coaching and training here.

Presentation Skills Top Tips – Body Language and Where to Stand

Presentation Skills Top Tips – Body Language and Where to Stand

What is Proxemics?

Presentation skills top tips – why should we pay attention to proxemics? The study of personal space is called proxemics. Notice how when a couple has had a fresh argument, they keep their distance from one another. By distance, I mean not just emotional distance but also physical distance. On the flip side, when couples are extremely happy together, they can’t stop holding hands or being really close. This very study of personal space is a fascinating field called ‘proxemics’.

We’re all very touchy about our personal space. Too much proximity to another person, especially a stranger, can either intimidate or infuriate us. There is nothing worse than someone ‘getting in your face’ when you don’t want them to be close to you.

Proxemics is the study of people’s territory and the implications of space in relationships with others. We want to be physically close to people we deeply love and maintain a distance from acquaintances or strangers.

Presentation Skills Top Tips – Focus on the four zones of proxemics

Edward T. Hall, an American anthropologist, developed the concept of proxemics. He divided the personal distance we keep from others into four main zones:

Public Distance Zone: This zone is for public spaces that provide the greatest distance between people. Other shoppers, public transport commuters or concertgoers fall in this category. Does anyone else always pick the seat on the bus in the hope that no one will sit next to you? Here, the distance is approximately 3.6 m (12 feet).

Social Distance Zone: This is a more neutral space, allowing a little extra distance between other people and us. Polite conversations or business discussions happen in this space. In this zone, the distance is about 1.5–3 m (5-10 feet).

Personal Distance Zone: Reserved for family and friends, this space is for casual and close conversations. Here, the distance is 0.6–1.5   (2-5 feet).

Intimate Distance Zone: Intimate spaces are reserved for those we trust the most such as our partners, parents and siblings. The distance ranges from direct contact to 0.6 m (2 feet).

Importance of proxemics in public speaking

The main aim of Public Speaking is getting people to listen and engage with what you’re saying. But it’s hard for people to engage if you’re having trouble efficiently using the space around you. Whether it is a scientist explaining a concept to an audience, your wedding speech or public debate. If you’re not leaning in, people are going to shut off.

When considering presentations skills top tips, leaning in is important. What I mean by leaning in is showing your passion through gestures and expressions that mirror your thoughts. At the same time, not being invasive or aggressive, and keeping a safe distance. It’s the same for your audience too. Leaning in is a sign that they are more interested. Leaning away means that they’re losing interest in what you’re saying.

Presentation Skills Top Tips – What we can learn from proxemics

The study of proxemics teaches us about how to be a compelling communicator by using personal space to our advantage. Everything from the tone and pitch of your voice to your posture affects the way people take in your message. When you’re speaking to an audience, make sure that your voice is loud so that everyone can hear you. And that all members of the audience can see you, your gestures, and any supporting visual materials you’re sharing.

Presentations Skills Top Tips – Don’t be afraid to move

You may also move off the platform and into the very front of the audience or move among the audience while speaking. This movement creates a greater level of familiarity and makes the speaker seem more approachable, and hence, more effective. To freely move and interact with your audience, you will need to wear a wireless microphone, so it’s best to tell the event planner in advance.

As part of your preparation, think about how you will use the space available and when you will move closer to your audience. I’m not suggesting you get too close and personal, and of course, there are cultural considerations to remember.

Aim to make your talk an experience to be remembered. Get out from behind the lectern, and use the space between you and your audience to deepen your connection.


As a storytelling expert, known as The Story Midwife, I help leaders to create compelling presentations through business storytelling.

Before becoming a Professional Speaker, I worked for over twenty years as a midwife.

I now live and breathe stories as a speaker, trainer, performer and coach.

Looking for more presentation skills top tips? As a World Class Speaking & Storytelling Coach, I’ll help you mine, refine and deliver a captivating story for your business or brand. Whether it is the boardroom, podium or stage; I can show you how to develop a persuasive presentation with a compelling story that will be hard to forget by anyone who gets to experience it.

If you would like to find out about training for your team, I’d love to hear from you.  Contact me lisa@speakingsavvy.com.au or call +61 (0)438 902042.

For more presentation skills top tips, have a look over on my blog.

Public Speaking Delivery – Eye contact is important

Public Speaking Delivery – Eye contact is important

Public speaking delivery is important and eye contact is a huge part of that.

The eyes are the windows to the soul

The way you use your eyes when you are speaking can make all the difference in how your message is received. It might sound minor but it is the little things that make a difference. Two little things that are so critical when you speak are your eyes and how you use them.

Eye contact is part of your public speaking toolkit

We communicate to our audience with our words and our body language. Both are equally important to your public speaking delivery. When you see and hear a skilled speaker they use their eyes to communicate.

Eye contact is part of your public speaking toolkit, learn to use eye contact effectively. It’s a way of showing the audience how you feel, a way of keeping them with you and most importantly a way of letting them know that you are there for them – as it’s all about the audience right?

Our eyes give away so much about how we are feeling. The movement of our facial muscles is intricately linked to our eye movements. The eyes, the body language and the words you use have to align. Otherwise, you will look fake.

Our words might be saying one thing, but there is the real possibility that our eyes might be saying what we are really feeling. Your audience is going to be looking for that message.

It’s going to be your eyes along with your face that will be telling your audience the story.

The emotions that you are currently feeling during your speech will be communicated to your audience via your eyes. If you are surprised, then your eyes are going to become larger. If you are sad, then your eyes will appear to become smaller. Make sure your eyes match what you are saying.

Public speaking delivery – The power of eye contact

The reason that we need eye contact is that it allows us to build a connection with our audience. It’s this connection that will allow our audience to understand that we can be trusted and we are sincere in what we are telling them.

So what’s the best way to incorporate effective eye contact into your public speaking delivery? The one thing that you don’t want to do is stand and look like one of those laughing clown games that you see at the fair with the oscillating heads.  This happens when you make up your mind to have eye contact with everyone in your audience, and so you start on one side and you proceed to stare into the eyes of each and every person in your audience in a slow sweeping movement. This looks weird and it can be quite distracting for your audience.

A much better way to go about using eye contact in your next speech is while you are speaking, look into your audience. Pick an area in your audience and then look into that group while you cover a point in your speech.

When you are ready to move to the next point, move your eyes to another group in your audience and deliver the next point while looking at that group. This technique is effective if you have a large audience everyone in the group will feel as though you are looking at them.

When we give a speech, we tend to worry about what we will say,  the slides that we show and even what we will wear. Remember the critical part of your speech is what you are doing with your eyes.

As with everything, there is a trick here. If you make eye contact with anyone in your audience for too long, then they are going to start to feel as though you are staring at them and that will end up making them feel uncomfortable.

Instead, make eye contact with a member of your audience for between 3-5 seconds and then move on and make eye contact with someone else. This way you’ll be able to make a great deal of your audience feel as though you are talking directly to them. They will feel included and you will form a connection with them.

Start looking and you will see the benefits

As the poets said, our eyes are the window to our souls. When you are giving a speech your eyes are one more way that you can connect with your audience and enjoy the benefits of public speaking.

Knowing what to do with your eyes is the first step in becoming a better speaker. Taking the time to focus on one person in your audience at a time and that will allow you to create a bond with them. Make sure that you don’t spend all of your time looking at just the smilers  – you need to look at every one.

Your public speaking delivery, the way you deliver your message, is important. In order to make sure that your audience stays with you and is able to be affected by your words, use your eyes.

As a storytelling expert, known as The Story Midwife, I help leaders to create compelling presentations through business storytelling.

Before becoming a Professional Speaker, I worked for over twenty years as a midwife.

I now live and breathe stories as a speaker, trainer, performer and coach.

As a World Class Speaking & Storytelling Coach, I’ll help you mine, refine and deliver a captivating story for your business or brand. Whether it is the boardroom, podium or stage; I can show you how to develop a persuasive presentation with a compelling story that will be hard to forget by anyone who gets to experience it.

If you would like to find out about training for your team, I’d love to hear from you.  Contact me lisa@speakingsavvy.com.au or call +61 (0)438 902042.

Public Speaking Tools: When learning public speaking, try improvisation

Public Speaking Tools: When learning public speaking, try improvisation

By attending an improvisation class you can become more comfortable in front of an audience.

One of the best public speaking tools to have up your sleeve is improvisation. Whilst there are many technical skills to learn to become a master at public speaking, one of the best ways to put yourself out there and get more comfortable being uncomfortable is through joining a group or taking a class in improvisation.

You cannot possibly fail

Now that has got your attention!  But it is TRUE. There is no right or wrong way to do improvisation – or improv, an art form that allows you to interpret and play with movement. Sure there are forms and techniques to learn if you want to get better at improv. For the purpose of getting more comfortable in front of others and using your voice and your body in a playful way, however, improv is one of the best public speaking tools. You will not stuff it up and you will not look like an idiot (well….maybe you will, but who cares!). Apart from a few basic ground rules and guidelines – it’s over to you for creative licence.

It’s really not that scary

Experiencing the performing art of improv is about getting into a playful state, unleashing your inner child and learning to use your body as a tool to communicate your feelings and what you want to offer the audience.

Public speaking tools: What you may learn in an improv class:

How to let go

Learning to trust your body and not overthink your movements.  Just being comfortable that your body and mind will come up with something when thrown an Improv scene or concept.  TRUST YOURSELF.

Being fully present

You need to be 100% in the moment to be able to commit to improv, no drifting off and thinking about what you are having for lunch (unless that is part of the scene!).  Improv requires you to be relaxed in your mind but focused at the same time, this is why you want it in your kit of public speaking tools.

Be true to yourself and commit

Last month I attended an Improv masterclass with the amazing Casper Schjelbred who was in Perth performing at the Fringe Festival.  As a friend of Perth Playback I received a personal invitation, and to be honest when opened it, I thought they must have sent it to the wrong person! I questioned my ability and immediately thought – my improv skills are not good enough to be attending a masterclass by the great Casper!!

It was amazing… and all we were asked to do was to commit to the day and the moment, so if you decided in the moment to step forward on one leg whilst pulling a  face like a lizard then go with it!

Perth Playback with Casper - public speaking tools

Perth Playback MasterClass with Casper Schjelbred

Stand tall and be yourself

Just as you would stand poised and calm when you are in front of an audience when about to speak in public, you need to do the same when you are about to do an improv scene.  At that point, the audience has NO IDEA what you are going to do, and the super fun thing is – that at that point YOU possibly have NO IDEA either!!

In many ways improv as a performing art is easier than public speaking, there is no script, there are no words or phrases to remember there are no stage mechanics to deliver. Whilst it is such a highly skilled art, it is superb fun. You will be challenged, you will laugh, you will inspire,  and you will be another step closer to being truly YOU when you step out on that stage.

Why is improvisation one of the best public speaking tools?

Here are just 7 reasons:

  • You will get outside of your comfort zone – that’s where the good stuff happens right?
  • You will feel a deep sense of connection as you dig deep to share the gift of your Improv form with others.
  • It is OK not to be perfect. Just as there is no such thing as a perfect presentation, allow yourself to be authentic and heartfelt.
  • You will surprise and even amaze yourself with your ability to read others and to play off their energy when doing an improv scene.
  • When you are in the moment and having fun, your audience is having fun too.
  • You have all the skills you need to do improv, trust your inner feeling and narrative and share that with the audience.
  • You will become a better observer and listener and you will express a true sense of gratitude to those who you have the pleasure to do improv with.

Give it a go – you will be surprised. You don’t have to be a professional actor to enjoy and benefit from improv. Check out upcoming events from Perth Playback.

 ___________________________________________________

As a storytelling expert, known as The Story Midwife, I help leaders to create compelling presentations through business storytelling.

Before becoming a Professional Speaker, I worked for over twenty years as a midwife.

I now live and breathe stories as a speaker, trainer, performer and coach.

As a World Class Speaking & Storytelling Coach, I’ll help you mine, refine and deliver a captivating story for your business or brand. Whether it is the boardroom, podium or stage; I can show you how to develop a persuasive presentation with a compelling story that will be hard to forget by anyone who gets to experience it.

If you would like to find out about training for your team, I’d love to hear from you.  Contact me lisa@speakingsavvy.com.au or call +61 (0)438 902042.

Charismatic public speaker

Have you ever felt like the speaker was talking only to you?

Can you think of a time when you listened to a speaker and felt connected and inspired by their message and delivery? Were you touched in some deep way, as though you were to only one the room? Powerful stuff! That’s charisma. What are those qualities of a charismatic public speaker?

You can learn, it but you have to earn it

Charisma is that special something that an individual has. A charismatic speaker leaves you wanting more and makes a lasting impression on people. It’s a learned skill, but it also has to be earned.

8 charismatic qualities of a public speaker

#1 Charismatic speakers are knowledgeable about their chosen topic. Take the time to do your research and become an expert in your chosen field, speak about what you love to do.

#2 Charismatic speakers use correct grammar, articulation and don’t use unnecessary words such as Um, Err, So. Take time to practice so that you sound easy to listen to and people can hear you pronounce your words.

#3 Charismatic speakers are confident and look comfortable (regardless of how they may be feeling on the inside). Act more confidently and you will feel more confident.

#4 Charismatic speakers are able to connect with their audience and get a strong rapport. Create your message to allow for maximum impact and connection. Use stories wherever possible.

#5 Charismatic speakers have stage presence; they use the space on the stage and are comfortable with movement and gestures. Own the space!

#6 Charismatic speakers have well-organised speeches that are laid out in a logical format with a clear point and a solid message.

#7 Charismatic speakers are genuine, authentic and aim to be the best speaker they can be.

#8 Charismatic speakers put in the work and take the time to plan, prepare and practice, they don’t “wing it”.

It takes time and practice to learn (and earn) charisma. Work on these 8 qualities of a charismatic public speaker and you will improve your level of public speaking.


About the author

Lisa Evans helps leaders and entrepreneurs to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, and improvisational actor. 

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

Here’s how I may help you

Whether you have a hidden story of your feet, or you want to nail your next presentation, I can help you.

My services include:

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories. A minimum of three sessions is recommended 1:1 in person or virtually via Zoom.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Storytelling for Leaders Interactive Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories.

Keynote/Guest Speaking at your next conference or event – I have several topics to choose from ranging from a 30-minute talk up to a 90-minute interactive session.