Using Your Body to Communicate: A Checklist
As a presenter, your content, voice, and physical delivery should all be aligned to enhance the impact of your performance. As you practice using your body to communicate, check in with yourself about the following questions:
Stance and Hands
- Are my feet grounded so that they line up with my shoulders?
- Is my weight equally distributed between my feet?
- Is my stance strong enough to avoid rocking, swaying, or fiddling with my feet?
- Is my chest raised slightly with a small lift to the chin, like there’s an imaginary string pulling me from my head?
- When I use my hands, are my gestures at chest level, and not too low or too high?
- When I use my hands, are they in a relaxed enough position so that my elbows are not glued to my side and my shoulders are not raised?
- When I use my hands, are they strong gestures supported by my arms without limp, floppy wrists?
- Have I reflected on my personal style for walking and movement? Am I relaxed and conversational, or polished and professional, or something else?
- When I walk up to the front of the room, do I feel and look confident?
- When I walk around the stage, is it intentional and purposeful, or am I pacing too much?
- If I cannot walk around the stage, do I have something to hold my notes so that they don’t make noise or create any distractions?
- If I use slides, am I keeping my body facing forward with an occasional glance at slides, as opposed to turning entirely to face the slides?
- If I am presenting in a group, do we know how we are planning to stand and what each person should do when it is their time to speak?
- Do I have a plan for transitioning between ideas? Will I take a moment to pause, look somewhere in particular, make a gesture, walk somewhere on stage, or something else?
- Do I feel comfortable enough with my content to be able to let go and feel the emotions? Or am I overly worried about all the technical aspects of my physical delivery?
- Have I practiced enough to feel like I can internalize the physical delivery and not have to worry about it too much when I am in front of the room?
- If I feel emotionally connected, am I able to show that feeling on my face using my eyebrows, mouth, and eyes?
- When I speak, do I visualize the human impact of my ideas and why they matter? Or am I just reciting the words?
- Am I taking enough pauses and moments to show how I feel about the content through my face and gestures? Or am I rushing through the movements?