You could write the best speech in the world, and no one would remember it if you spoke in a whisper and looked at your feet while delivering it.
How you say something is just as important -- if not more so -- than what you actually say. Crossed arms, wandering eyes, and stooped posture can drown out your message if you're not careful.
Used strategically, body language can emphasize your argument and make it resonate with your audience. Want to really drive a point home with your prospect? Consider walking a few steps toward them. Nodding, smiling, and maintaining eye contact will create a positive and receptive atmosphere. And making small, restrained gestures can project an air of authority and confidence.
Sales Body Language Tips
Before your next in person presentation, internalize the 10 tips in the following infographic from SOAP Presentations. Make sure your movements are reinforcing your message instead of sabotaging it.
Read through the tips below or skip straight to the infographic here.
1. Open your chest and arms
To boost your confidence during your presentation, open your arms and chest, and keep your back straight. This position will make you breathe better, and you'll feel more relaxed -- making you an instantly better presenter.
To make your audience comfortable, smile at them. It's simple, but smiling is our most powerful weapon during presentations and face-to-face meetings.
3. Gesture with your arms and hands
To engage people, gesture with your arms and hands in a natural way. It's also a good idea to look your audience in the eye. People tend to naturally pay attention to and like people who look them in the eye.
4. Use small, stiff gestures
To demonstrate authority, keep calm and use small, stiff gestures. This type of movement encourages people to trust you and view you as a confident person.
5. Walk it out
To bring movement to your speech, use the physical space you have available and walk it out.
For example, if you're presenting three points, talk about Point A when you're at your first position. Then move out two or three steps and speak about Point B. This way, a movement that includes space will accompany your speech.
6. Vary your gestures
To keep your audience engaged, vary your gestures throughout the presentation. Open gestures, small gestures, and gestures that involve your head, arms, and hands are best. It's also wise to include gestures that involve only your hands or only your head -- and broad gestures are also welcoming and engaging.
7. Point to your presentation
To draw attention to a certain element of your presentation, point directly at it and look at it on screen simultaneously. Your audience will follow your eyes and finger.
8. Walk toward people
To encourage audience participation, use open gestures and -- when possible -- walk around and toward people. We tend to participate more when we have proximity to a speaker.
To make a hard question seem easier, pause, breathe slowly (this gives you time to think), then answer while looking the questioner in the eye.
10. Practice mirroring
To make your audience buy your story, use positive gestures during the entire presentation. This includes nodding, open gestures, smiling, and mirroring.
Salespeople should always have confident, trustworthy body language. If you're not at ease your prospect won't be either. Have colleagues sit in while you're presenting, and consider taking a video recording of yourself presenting at home.
It might feel a little weird, but you'll be able to dissect your body language to make further improvements in your presentation style.
Originally published May 1, 2018 2:03:00 PM, updated July 28 2017