Public Speaking Posture To Adopt For Projecting Confidence
Do you know that your public speaking posture affects the audience’s perception and reaction towards you and your speech?
We are usually unaware of our own posture and the message it’s sending to others. This stems from the fact that our posture is a habit that we have developed over a long period of time. Therefore, the display of our posture is done unconsciously. In this article we will be addressing the public speaking posture to adopt for projecting confidence.
Why it is important to adopt a good posture when speaking
Exhibit desirable traits
Posture is a category of nonverbal communication. In other words, the audience can pick up unconscious messages you are communicating based on your posture. Hence, it is important to adopt a good posture to help you exhibit desirable traits such as confidence, authority and trustworthiness.
Helps to project your voice
A good posture allows you to engage in deep breathing and clear projection of your voice. Also, with a good and straight posture, you can also practise diaphragmatic breathing. This is a powerful technique known to help you project your voice. Diaphragmatic breathing enlists the use of your belly to take in more oxygen to your lungs and provide more support to your voice. This in turn allows you to engage in deep breathing and the projection of your voice.
If you are interested to learn more about this technique as well as other techniques to project your voice better, you can refer to this article for more information [How to project your voice and speak louder]
How to adopt a good public speaking posture
Attaining a good public speaking posture is not as easy as it seems, as this article puts, it, how we stands affects has a huge impact on how we speak. The few areas you will need to take note include head, shoulders, back and feet.
As much as possible, keep your head straight and parallel to the floor, most of the time. Do not push your head too much to the front, back or side as it would make you look smaller. The smaller and the more disproportionate you are in the audience members’ eyes, the less authority and credibility you have.
Here is an example of a poor gesture as a result of positioning your head a little too far in front.
To achieve a good shoulder posture, keep your shoulders back and straight. If you have a poor shoulder posture, you will look like this.
This posture is commonly known as slouching. When you slouch, your audience will perceive you as a speaker who is bored, tired and unprofessional. Once again, why make yourself look smaller and less reliable when you can make yourself look strong and more confident?
The back is another area that can affect your posture. Ensure that you stand upright so that your back is straight and your stomach is not protruding outwards.
When a speaker’s stomach is protruding outwards and making an ‘S’ shape, this posture is called the anterior pelvic tilt (also known as the Donald Duck Posture). Some speakers unknowingly display this posture when they try to ‘over-compensate’ their slouching posture. This usually happens when the slouching posture is the speaker’s habitual & daily posture and suddenly, he/she has to counter it for a speech.
Looking at this illustration, can you imagine the audience’s reaction upon seeing a speaker in this posture?
There are several things you need to take note when it comes to your feet.
First of all, you need to ensure that your weights are distributed equally in both feet. This is the ideal and most powerful feet position while delivering a speech.
Putting all of your weights in one leg makes you look very casual. This may make your audience feel that they aren’t taken very seriously which will affect your image as a speaker. Although it’s alright to adopt this position occasionally (especially for speeches with longer duration), try to minimize it.
Secondly, do not stand with your legs crossed. This restricts your movement and your audience will perceive you as an unconfident speaker.
Lastly, try not to stand with both feet too close together. This might indicate discomfort and lack of confidence on the speaker’s end.
On a side note, you should not stand with your feet too wide apart as well. Not only will you get uncomfortable after standing in this position for a long period of time, you also appear unnatural.
A good rule of thumb is to stand with your feet aligned with your shoulders. In other words, your feet should be shoulder-length apart.
In summary, to display a good posture, you’d need to:
- Keep your head straight & parallel to the floor
- Keep your shoulders back & relaxed
- Keep your back straight & body upright
- Keep your feet shoulder-length apart and distribute body weight equally on both feet
Many of our postures are habits we have developed over a long period time. Hence, have the patience and perseverance to avoid negative body language gestures in presentation, break bad habits and develop the right ones. As long as you are aware what you need to improve and work on improving it consciously and continuously, you will get there.