As a meeting facilitator, speaking well is important, however, that alone won’t win over a room of people. You also need to be aware of how your body language comes across to those who are attending the meeting.
Five body language tips that will captivate your crowd
Make eye contact
Eye contact is essential for anyone who is speaking in front of a group. If you tend to look down or to the side when speaking, the meeting participants will get the vibe that you are nervous, self-conscious, and not confident in what you are speaking about.
Try to keep your head held high (don’t look down!) and maintain eye contact throughout the meeting.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should stare at one person the whole time — that’s just uncomfortable for everyone. If you can, move your gaze to various participants as the meeting goes on to make everyone feel like they are respected and seen.
Move around the room or stage
Standing in one place, especially at the front of the room, for a long time is boring for both you and for the meeting participants, and can be even worse if it’s a meeting that runs more than half an hour.
Shifting from one side of the presentation area to the other is good body language, as it can make you seem more in command and can even be good if you have a pause or transition between topics. Just make sure that you aren’t blocking any presentation materials that are being used (such as a PowerPoint on a projector screen), but change up where you stand at least once so that you appear engaged and energetic.
Fidgeting happens. Especially when you are nervous. But, a good meeting facilitator will be able to control their anxious movements when they are presenting.
Try not to fidget with your hands or with a writing tool. This isn’t to say that if you use your hands when you talk, that it’s always a bad thing. Many people use their hands to enhance what they are saying (“talking with your hands”), and it can make them seem more engaged and interesting. Just don’t overdo it if you’re a hand talker, because it can go from normal to over the top very fast — and you don’t want to scare off the people in the meeting.
If you tend to fidget even when you’re not nervous, try holding a laser pointer or something that will aid in the presentation, not take away from it.
Uncross your arms
Just like fidgeting, sometimes people automatically revert to crossing their arms when nervous or anxious.
When a meeting facilitator does this, they come across as cold, closed off, and bored — none of which are good impressions to give off. Having your arms in a more relaxed position will give the impression that you are open, welcoming, and at ease in a leadership position.
Keep your expression positive
Most meetings need a facilitator that has a positive, confident attitude. Going into a meeting and seeing the facilitator looking and acting grumpy puts everyone in a negative mood.
To keep meeting participants content and comfortable, remain positive as you speak and listen. Being positive can mean smiling or just having a pleasant expression for the duration of the meeting. If the subject matter is sad or more serious than usual, this isn’t necessary. However, in most cases, a positive attitude will be well received.
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