Top 5 presentation tips. Part 3

Delivering a confident presentation.

Did you know that 60-70% of meaning is derived from non-verbal communication?

Many speakers stress about what they’re going to say in their speech, but forget all about another crucial element of their presentation – their body language and how this influences what you say. Body Language refers to the messages you send through facial expressions, posture and gestures. These must support what you are saying, otherwise you lose credibility.

TIP: Even if you don’t feel confident, stand tall with a confident posture when you speak. This will project confidence to your audience and help dissolve your anxiety. Make eye contact with your audience, smile and use open handed gestures.

Your eye contact with the audience will allow you to build an emotional connection with them. When you are speaking you should be looking at your audience, not at the back wall, floor, or PowerPoint screen. Speaking to the audience allows you to test for signs of feedback and see when they are really getting what you’re saying. Making clear eye contact is vital to making them feel included and involved.

There are two approaches to use to establish eye contact depending on the size of the audience.  If you are speaking to a small group of less than ten individuals you can make eye contact with each person throughout your presentation so that you make all the people in the room feel welcome & involved. For a larger group it is necessary to divide the audience into sections making sure you continually make eye contact with selected individuals in each section. This will ensure all areas of the audience feel engaged and part of the presentation.

Smile – when you are speaking as it relaxes both you and your audience. It says to your listeners: I am happy to be here and I am happy you are here.

Gestures – when your presentation allows, use gestures to demonstrate and/or emphasise points. For example you might use your hands to help describe a big round lake or a tiny mouse. This helps involve your audience and engage them in a visual way.

Posture – when you speak you should be in control of yourself and your area. One way of achieving this is to position yourself in the middle at the front of the room and stand strong.

Follow these simple guidelines to improve your posture when public speaking.


×      Don’t bury your hands in your pockets.

×      Don’t lean on the podium.

×      Don’t sway back and forth.

×      Don’t fold your arms across your chest.

×      Don’t put your hands on your hips (unless part of a gesture)

×      Don’t play with pens, paper, clothing, glasses, hair etc.

×      Don’t use the lectern as your hiding place.

×      Don’t put your hand near your mouth as this obstructs the sound of your voice.

×      Don’t slump.


ü       Take a deep breath and assume a confident stance and posture.

ü       Stand up straight.

ü       Stand with your feet slightly apart.

ü       Stand with your arms ready for gesture.

ü       Be open to the audience and lean slightly towards them.

ü       Stand tall at the middle, front of the room.

Look out for the 4th part of Maureen Bell’s series in association with Quay Appointments, “Engaging presentations are more than just words” For more info visit

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