Body language is something to be aware of when you’re pitching – you already know that. But there are some finer points to the way you carry yourself when your well-rehearsed pitch is flying flawlessly out of your mouth, and we’ve got three things to keep in mind about your body language.
The thing with body language is, that you can’t hide it. Even if you try to do nothing, that sends out a signal to the ones listening to you. This assessing of the speaker’s body language goes on every second of talking, and it happens even if the listener isn’t focusing on it. That’s why there’s no way around minding your body language and having thought about what you do when you’re pitching. You’re communicating non-verbally whether you like it or not.
You probably know the usual stuff – stand up straight, don’t wave your arms like a maniac and all that. That’s why we’re focusing on the smaller things, the things that tend to be overlooked when someone is making a guide to good body language.
1. Use pauses to your advantage
When we present something, many of us have a tendency to talk (way too) fast. The reasons might be nerves, wanting to get done but it gives off a bad impression to the one you’re presenting to. That’s not good for your body language.
That’s why it can be beneficial to slow things down and schedule some pauses. Pauses can actually help the listener ‘digest’ your message, and good use of pauses can make you seem more contemplative and convincing.
Yes, more pauses and a lower pace mean fewer words within the given time frame, but that may not be a bad thing. Often times it forces you to cut to the chase, and that means the words in the pitch have that more weight behind them. So try lowering the pace of your presentation and sprinkle in a few short pauses.
2. Breathe and be present
A lower talking pace and pauses are not only good for the recipient of your pitch but to you too. It will lessen the tension in your body when you give yourself a chance to breathe. Practice and a breath of fresh air during your pitch will give you a good feeling, and that enables you to be present and see how your words are received.
If the recipient of your pitch feels that you’re present in the situation, they will be more comfortable and positive towards you. Presence is often overlooked in many presentations and pitches because we want to focus on getting our message out, but remember we’re dealing with people who want to talk to other people.
3. Be pleasant
If you’re present in the situation you’ll not only get through to the rational part of the listener, you’ll also get to the person behind. Whether you’re pitching to a colleague, an investor or a customer, everyone’s a person not only governed by logic but also emotions. And no matter what you’re presenting it’s not just about delivering your message but also about connecting with the audience.
When listening to a pitch you’d want to get the feeling, that the pitcher is trustworthy and a nice person, that you want to help or do business with. When you’re present in the situation with a good vibe, you have both a good product and instill the wish to work with you, when you’re pitching your great idea. The ability to be present and emit good vibes as a pleasant person takes both energy and a certain calmness. A good way to achieve that is, well, among other things the pace of speaking, pauses and breathing.