How you say it can be more important than what you say –
The 54th Grammy’s were a celebration of Adele’s big year and Whitney Houston’s life. It was also a great lesson in body language and presentation. When a celebrity presents an award, there is always that awkward moment when he or she tries to make a joke that ends up being painful and horribly timed. Everyone in the audience is thinking it and I find myself wincing to get through the awkwardness.
It is a joy to find a presenter who not only avoids making you feel uncomfortable and may even elicit a chuckle. If celebrities can screw up, it is no shock that your ordinary citizen (who doesn’t have millions of dollars to invest in a coach for times like these) can make everyday interactions awkward as well. There are plenty of opportunities to make the people around you feel uncomfortable, but this is where the everyday person can learn to rise above and prevail.
Body language can help ease the pain and take what you are saying from good to great, whether it is a meeting with a potential client, an interview, or a presentation.
Be calm and confident in your message.
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
Smile – but don’t look rabid.
Maintain eye contact.
Regardless of who you are talking to, make a conscious effort to stay relaxed. Your audience will feel comfortable and convinced if you know what you are saying and how you feel about it. There are many opportunities to hone your public speaking. Best way – just do it! Take every opportunity to speak in front of people, join ToastMasters, volunteer, lead meetings, go to your kid’s school and talk about what you do – children are brutally honest! The choice is yours, stand up and be heard – or shrink into awkward silence.