Influencing your audience, customers or staff, is as much about how you look, as well as what you are saying. If your look is not congruent, then people will pick up on it. They may not know what it is, but they will detect something.

Body language is the first thing that we notice in a speaker. We unconsciously ask questions such as:

  • How are they carrying themselves – are they confident or are they nervous?
  • How much are they fidgeting – a lot, or not at all?
  • Are they looking at the audience or the floor, at the ceiling or out the window?

We ask these and many other questions to gauge how confident the speaker is. If a speaker is not looking at the audience, it is easy to assume that they are lacking confidence or don’t want to be there. If the speaker is fidgeting, it is fair to say that, they are uncomfortable, and would rather be somewhere else.

Controlling the way you come across is about awareness. Pay attention to what you are doing in everyday situations. Do you fidget while sitting at your desk, are your legs always bouncing or are you always twirling a pen in your fingers?

These are signs of fidgeting.

While they may not be a problem at your desk, related fidgets will emerge when you are on stage. This creates the impression that you are nervous.

When you are speaking to influence an audience these small signals will reduce your positioning as a leader in the eyes of your audience. This reduces their desire to follow your message.

As always, I would love your thoughts on this, leave a comment in the comment section below.