Presentation Gestures

When giving a presentation, use your physical expression to its fullest by doing the following:

Projecting emotion with your face: Connect with the audience by using your face to convey your feelings. Smile, laugh, or open your mouth in disbelief. Before you begin your talk, try moving every facial muscle you can—it’ll help you warm up.

Peeling yourself away from your slides: If you turn your back to the audience to look at your slides, you put up a barrier. As much as you can, keep your eyes on the people who have come to hear you.

Opening up your posture: Avoid a “closed” stance, such as folding your arms, standing with legs crossed, putting your hands in your pockets, or clasping your hands behind or in front of you. It signals discomfort.

Exaggerating your movement: Fill the space around you, especially if you’re speaking in a large room. Use the same types of gestures you would if you were having a personal conversation—but make them MUCH bigger and more deliberate. Before your presentation, stretch your arms as wide as you can and as tall as you can (even stand on your toes). This helps you open up your chest cavity and practice exaggerating your gestures.

Matching gestures with content: Gestures should complement or amplify what you’re saying. If you’re presenting a record year in sales, go “big” with your arms and your smile. If your team barely missed its targets, bring everything in, perhaps showing a tiny little gap between your thumb and forefinger.