Do you ever wonder what it takes to give an amazing TED talk?
Well we’re going to tell you today on Moxie Talk
HOW TO GIVE A TED TALK SERIES: NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION
Hey everyone, it’s Fia Fasbinder. Welcome to the Moxie Talk Blog, where we help you find your voice, share your message, and lead with confidence.
Today, we’re talking about TED talks and TED speakers. One of the crucial things TED speakers need to do to engage their audience and give an amazing talk is work on their body language.
I’m going to give you 7 tips on your body language that help to give an amazing TED talk—an amazing any-kind-of-talk—and these are things that we do as speaker coaches with our TED speakers.
COMMAND THE SPACE
The first is to command the space. What this means is maximizing the space your body takes up in a room. This could be maximizing the space your body takes up on a stage if you’re a TED speaker and a board room if you’re giving a presentation, and in today’s virtual room that just means your laptop screen.
How do you do this?
You do this by what I call presentation power posing. A power pose makes your body big. However, power poses can make it difficult to walk around.
Therefore, instead, I want you to open up your chest cavity. All the studies on confidence show that by opening up our chest cavity we appear more confident. Then imagine there’s an invisible string from the top of your head attached to the ceiling and it’s gently pulling you up and straightening your S-curve in your spine. Simply by opening and lengthening, we maximize our body space, we appear confident, and we show our audience that we are not scared to be there. We are excited to be there and we’re open to it.
That’s tip number 1, something that we do with every TED speaker. Make sure they maximize their body space by moving and commanding the space that they’re in.
MOVE WITH CONVICTION
The second tip is to move with conviction.
What does this mean?
This means, if you are going to walk on the TED stage, really walk somewhere. If you’re going to walk in a boardroom, really walk to the other side of it. Use your body movements to really show conviction. The great thing about this too is you’re giving your energy to a different part of the audience.
So if you move to the right hand of the stage, you’re giving your energy to the right hand of the stage. If you move to the back of the board room, you’re giving your energy to those people sitting in the back of the boardroom. Hence, moving with conviction can show your confidence and can actually connect you to different parts of your audience.
The third body language technique is eye contact. Now eye contact is really important even if you have an audience so big that you can’t see everyone like in a TED talk. If you can just look to those areas of the stage, it makes people think you’re looking directly at them.
Have you ever been to a concert and you’re sure the singer is singing right to you? That’s because they’re looking in your direction. So if you’ve got a large audience like you would in a TED talk, make sure you’re making eye contact with the different parts of the stage. If you’re in a smaller speaking space, make sure you make eye contact with everybody in that room. It’s the non-verbal way of saying somebody’s name and making people know that they are an important part of your presentation.
If you’re giving a virtual presentation, make eye contact with that camera. Put a sticky note right above your camera with a smiley face if you have to or move the Zoom squares right underneath your camera so you’re looking at them. Eyes are really the windows to our soul, so use them.
Tip number 4 is facial expressions. Make sure that you are showing smiling facial expressions, positive facial expressions that show your audience you want to be there, even with serious topics.
We have something called mirror neurons and that means we mirror emotion we see in other people. So if you show your audience you’re bored or you’re nervous and that plays into your facial expressions, they are going to mirror that energy. On the other hand, If you show your audience through a smile that you’re excited to be there, they’re going to mirror that energy. Thus, make sure your facial expressions are positive and passionate to be in that space.
Tip number 5 is hand gestures. People always ask me, What should I do with my hands?
My answer to them is, Do you ever think about what your hands are doing in everyday life when you’re talking? No! We only focus on our hands when we get nervous.
The idea behind hand gestures is to make sure they’re open — you don’t want any closed hand gestures. Keep them open. Then only gesture when you absolutely have to, try to just keep your hands by your side, and then when they want to come up, they want to do something, let them do it. Other than that, keep them at your side. That way you’ll avoid any kind of fidgety, awkward hand gestures.
Tip number 6 is to ground yourself. Whether you’re standing on a TED stage, you’re standing in a board room, or you’re sitting at a Zoom presentation, you want to make sure you’re grounded—you can really feel your feet on the floor.
That actually sends all these amazing power hormones into your body and it literally grounds you and it makes you feel more grounded.
One of the techniques I do with all my speakers is to have them wiggle their toes inside their shoes when they’re speaking. Really feel that ground beneath your feet.
AVOID REPETITIVE MOTION
Tip number 7 and this is actually a don’t, is to make sure you avoid any repetitive motion. Pacing, swaying, fidgeting — anything that you do over and over and over is going to distract your audience from your message. So make sure you eliminate any repetitive motion.
So if you remember nothing else that I said in this talk, remember this — Behavioral scientists have identified what makes an audience associate us as friends. They have identified that everybody we meet, we unconsciously in a split second identify as a friend, for, or undetermined – meaning I don’t have enough information about you to know. This is an ancient, ancient response that is still implanted in our amygdala.
So if you want to make sure that your audience is a friend which most of us do, here are 3 things you can do and we’ve already reviewed them:
- The first is smile, a universal sign of friendship. Make sure you’re smiling.
- The second is eye contact, another universal sign that you’re open and you’re not intimidated, you’re not scared. Make sure you’re making eye contact.
- Last but not least, and this might be one that you hadn’t thought of – make sure you don’t hide your hands. Behavioral scientists say that when you hide your hands either in your pocket or cross them in front of you or behind your back, you’re sending an unconscious message to your audience that you’re either disclosing a weapon or you are protecting yourself because you think the person across from you, your audience, is disclosing a weapon – ancient response.
Make sure you’re doing those 3 things if nothing else.
There you go, folks. 7 techniques that you can use in your next TED talk or your next presentation to make sure you’re delivering your message with confidence.
If you want more information about how Moxie can help you master TED-style communication skills and deliver world-class speeches, then check out our Give A Ted Style Talk training page or book a call!