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Gestures That Convey Confidence in a Presentation

by | May 9, 2017

A recent Harvard Business Review article by Kasia Wezowski shares 6 body language stances/gestures that signal confidence during a presentation which she discovered from studying successful leaders from a variety of industries.

Nonverbal Signal #1: The Box

Wezowski suggests that you imagine a box in front of your chest and stomach. Contain your hand movements within this “box”. She claims that wide gestures imply lack of trustworthiness.

Nonverbal Signal #2: Holding the Ball

Steve Jobs used this gesture often. Pretend you are holding a basketball between your hands. This shows control and confidence.

Nonverbal Signal #3: Pyramid Hands

Think of your hands coming together and touching at the tips so that your hands look like you’re creating a triangle. I call this the “Steeple Chase” position. Wezowski points out that this gesture conveys confidence. It’s also a way to use your hands that belies your potential nervousness. To that point – a clear signal that you have performance anxiety is hand wringing, playing with paper clips, tapping your pen, fidgeting.

Nonverbal Signal #4: Wide Stance

Posture counts. Your audience (whether one or many) perceives you with more power and presence when you stand tall. Wezowski finds that you convey control when your feet are a shoulder width apart. I would add that you detract from your confidence when you sway from side to side. Stand tall and move with purpose.

Nonverbal Signal #5: Palms Up

Having your palms up shows approachability. It signals your desire to connect. Wezowski uses the words “openness” and “honesty”.

Nonverbal Signal #6: Palms Down

Wezowski found that the correlating opposite movement, palms down, could also be a sign of strength. She sites that Barack Obama used this technique after ovations.

Her findings are a great reminder of how your nonverbal communication can enhance your persuasiveness.

Source: “6 Ways to Look More Confident During a Presentation”, Harvard Business Review, Kasia Wezowski


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© Karen Cortell Reisman, M.S., author of 2 books and President of Speak For Yourself®, works with decision makers on how to speak with gravitas. It’s all in how you speak for yourself. Karen also speaks about her cousin, Albert Einstein, in a message about hope, resilience and brassieres.

Read more at www.SpeakForYourself.com/blog.

Did you know that Speak For Yourself® also works 1:1 with decision makers on overcoming the fear of public speaking? Click here: https://www.karencortellreisman.com/seminar-what-i-didnt-say.html


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