Body Language?

By | April 29, 2005

Most likely when you talk to your friends or co-workers, you move your hands and arms, walk around, make eye contact, or change the expressions on your face. These movements are called body language. Body language is as important in public speaking as it

Your objectives for this speech are:
To learn the value of gestures and body movements as part of a speech.
To explore the different ways of using body language.
To develop a sense of timing and natural, smooth body movement.
Time: 5-7 minutes

Body Language
 . .
5  Posture Standing with back straight and looking relaxed
6  Eye Contact Looking each audience member in the eye
7  Gesture Using few, well-timed gestures, nothing distracting

Body Language
It is imperative for students to experiment with body language in order to find a delivery style that is both effective and comfortable. Constructive feedback from the instructor and peers is invaluable to the speaker when practicing. While doing the 'across-the room' speaking activity, ask students to become aware of their posture (Point 5). Demonstrate good posture with the feet spread about shoulder width, weight even between the feet, and no swaying or leaning. Ask them how posture affects their impression of other speakers. When teaching students to make eye contact (Point 6), the insructor could ask each student to stand at the front of the class and make eye contact with each person in the class. Another useful technique is the 'read-and-look-up activity.' In pairs, one student should first read a sentence silently, then look up and make eye contact with his or her partner while saying as much of the sentence as possible. When the students are successful working in pairs, move them into small groups before having them speak in front of the whole class. Playing games like charades, teaching some sign language, or teaching a few simple gestures like indicating one, two, and three using fingers (Point 7) helps students to understand how their hands can enhance communication.