Impromptu speech sessions are always full of stress and loss of words. It is common to see speakers stuttering during the speech. However, this can be improved by practice and stuttering depends more on whether the speaker has enough content to speak. However, body language is another important factor for a good speech. It is scientifically established that non-verbal communication is a vital part of conversation and body language forms 55% of this non-verbal component. The rest is made of the tone of the speaker’s voice.
A good speaker never keeps his/her hands down. The hands must be at the most till the waist level. They must also keep moving. Hands hanging on the side conveys disinterest. If the body language of the speaker is not good, audience loses interest in the speech. Hence, the hands must always be held up.
Another factor to be kept in mind is the movement of the head. The head should not be fixed in one direction. It must keep moving, so as to give the impression that the speaker’s eyes are covering the entire audience. In group discussions, don’t look at a single person. Move your head around and look at other speakers as well. Point towards them and ask them questions.
Crossed arms and clasped hands are signs of defensive position and convey introvert behavior. Hands folded at the back are also discouraged. The hands must also not move too much. Pointing fingers at fellow speakers or towards the audience is not recommended as it is generally perceived as a rude gesture. Instead, the speaker must have an open palm and that must be used to point to the audience or fellow speakers.
Too much of moving on the stage is generally discouraged. The audience must not get distracted by the movement of the speaker on the stage. It is not important to reach out to the corners of the stage for the sake of stage utilization. The speaker must limit himself to a circle of a few feet radius with the center of the stage as the center of this circle.
Excessive hand movement or body movement on the stage is seen as a sign of nervousness and self-doubt. The feet must also not drag on the floor. The screeching sound made by dragging feet is highly disliked by all kinds of audience.
The head must always be held high and looking down at the floor is highly discouraged. Looking down again conveys self-doubt and is regarded by audience as lack of conviction. It means that the speaker is thinking hard about what to speak. The speaker must have his head up and must look directly at the audience.
The last but one of the most important things is having a smile. It brings a positive countenance to the speech. Even during group discussions and debates, it is recommended to bear a gentle smile over the face. That shows the speaker is open to ideas and is receptive of counter opinion as well. Having a serious and drab face conveys hostility.
However, smiles have to borne with caution − It is not a good practice to smile even while discussing tragic topics, like natural crises or the death of a person. There should not be unnecessary flow of emotions. The speaker must remember not to fake emotions on the stage. A fake emotion, if detected by listeners, can backfire in the worst ways.
Body language is not only about hand movements or body movements. It is also about facial expressions. Proper facial expressions are important to convey appropriate emotions. There are many other factors that together make up the guidelines of positive body language for speakers. It is important to mix good ideas with good body language for making the speech successful. A good match of body language and words can make any speech wonderful.