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Non-Verbal Competence

“Slips” are non-verbal signs of nervousness, such as touching your hair, rocking back and forth on your feet or clenching your hands into fists by your side. Even if your voice is calm and steady, nonverbal slips can diminish your credibility by making you appear unsure of yourself.

While controlling slips is a challenge for even the most seasoned public speakers, there are resources that can help. In this video, speech coach Karen Cortell Reisman gives advice on how to control nervousness (and the nonverbal slips that accompany it) during professional presentations:

Some research suggests that up to 93% of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. When somebody listens to a speaker at a conference or a colleague at work, they subconsciously notice when verbal communication (what the person is saying) and nonverbal cues (such as gestures) don’t align. If a person says they’re extremely happy to be working with you but they’re not smiling, do you totally believe what they’re saying? The same is true of gestures. Used effectively, small hand or shoulder gestures add credibility to your communication by making it seem more genuine and strongly felt.
Whether for good or for bad, we live in an image-conscious world. While it isn’t important to be fashionable, people will notice whether you put effort into your appearance or not. People who look comfortable, professional and well-groomed make the best impression in workplace environments and may find it easier to influence others.
Non-verbal cues are key communicators this includes how you present yourself. Posture communicates a lot. Posture can communicate your level of self-confidence and it can convey your mood. Walking into a room with good posture shows high confidence and spirits. Leaning also has an impact showing how interested you are in the conversation.
Props and interactive presentations can help you communicate your message effectively. Used appropriately, they enhance your message and help keep the audience’s attention. Before using props or adding an interactive portion to you presentation think about its value and how it will advance your message.

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