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How To Give Powerful Presentations Every Time

You’ve done your research, clarified your messaging, practiced your delivery and finally, the big presentation arrives. You’re going in confident.

You make your case to the audience or executives or whomever.

It absolutely bombs.

As you turn it over in your head for days (weeks) afterwards, one thought keeps popping back up: What the heck happened?

You did everything right! Research, messaging, delivery, timing!

That’s not everything, however.

One Secret to Powerful Presentations

Leaders who consistently give killer presentations on- and off-stage are expert at one thing: nonverbal ninja moves.

In short, they know how to read their audience’s body language and adjust their own for maximum impact.

Today’s research shows that words are only responsible for about 7% of the effectiveness of a presentation. Body language accounts for somewhere between 65-93%.

Many of us have seen Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on power posing and nonverbal cues in presentations (it has north of 42 million views), but there are other nonverbal elements connected to leadership effectiveness and what I call, Presentation #Presence.

If you want to avoid post-presentation dread, here are 2 nonverbal cues you can use to begin to elevate your delivery like the seasoned pros.

Techniques to Master Your Next Presentation

1. Eye-Blocking

When people feel threatened (more common, as a primary function of your brain is to predict threats) or are otherwise repulsed or turned off by what they see, they will often shield or block their eyes. If people are doing a lot of eye-blocking — rubbing their eyes or excessively blinking — your presentation is not resonating. To understand the importance of eye connection to trust and relationships, think about this … if you were given 50 professional headshots and asked who to hire, and 1 of the people was wearing sunglasses, do you think he/she would make your finalist list? Open, exposed eyes are one of the clearest signs of engagement, trust, and respect — eye-blocking is almost universally negative to be receiving as a speaker. If you experience eye-blocking at your next presentation, assess your message and determine if you need to change course to keep the audience with you.

2. Squinting

Squinting is a bit similar to eye-blocking, although it tends to imply suspicion on behalf of the squintee. Stand-up comedians are usually really good at seeing someone reacting this way and bringing them into the joke. (“What, you don’t agree that Pringles are the best chip, sir?”) Good speakers do it too. There’s a decade or so old clip of Tony Robbins speaking and he sees Al Gore squinting/questioning something from the presentation in the front left of the auditorium. Robbins brings Gore into the presentation briefly and even makes a quick 2000 U.S. Presidential election joke. There are ways to turn the negative (squinting) into a positive (engagement), but it requires noticing the issue and being direct about it.

Want to learn more nonverbal ninja moves to boost your credibility, confidence and impact as a presenter?

Once you’ve successfully leveraged eye-blocking and squinting you’re ready to go to the next level. There are 6 more body language techniques that will set you up to maximize your impact at your next meeting or presentation.

Grab your one-page cheat sheet that highlights 8 simple techniques to leverage nonverbal leadership and increase your presentation presence from the Coaching For Female Leaders App.


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