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Our NonVerbal Communication is Both. . .

O Voluntary and Involuntary

NonVerbal Communication Trumps Verbal Communication.

NonVerbal Communication conveys our message Visually to our audiences. This is important because over 50% of them are Visual Learners.

What they see, they believe!  If there is inconsistency in a presentation, the NonVerbal messages an audience sees, is what they will give credence to over the words they hear. This is why it is imperative to be aware of what the audience is receiving visually from your presentation, whether it is deliberate or unintentional. Possibly, it’s not the message you think you’re delivering!

A Presentation has Two Components: 

  1. Content – The message, what the speaker wants the audience to understand and take away.

  2. Delivery – Presenting the message. The Parts of Delivery are:

  3. Verbal Communication, speaking the words, and NonVerbal Communication, almost everything else you do.

NonVerbal Communication falls into Two Categories:

  1. Voluntary, those we do consciously.

  2. Involuntary, those we do unconsciously.

  3. The audience doesn’t care which it is. The visuals they see you deliver will overrule the words they hear.

Voluntary NonVerbal Communication: Theses elements must be in sync with the words and verbal delivery. They can enhance a presentation. This is the reason that, if using a slide show, the screen should be “blanked” so the attention of the audience leaves the screen and focuses on the speaker!

Props, also, should be put out of sight when the necessity of having the audience “see” them is over.

  1. Facial Expressions

  2. Smiling, frowning, grimacing, eye contact, etc.

  3. Gestures

  4. Movements made with hands, arms, legs, etc.

  5. Exaggerated for large audiences.

  6. Body Language

  7. Posture; straight with shoulders back and chest out shows “confidence in your competence.”

  8. Body Movement

  9. Intentional, deliberate, and returning to “anchor points.”

  10. Clothing

  11. Not distracting; proper and appropriate for the occasion and audience.

Involuntary NonVerbal Communication: Some of the below elements can be considered Voluntary, and they are if done purposefully. If not deliberately made, and done in sync with the information the speaker is talking about, they can give the audience a mixed message. People believe what they see.

Example: I could say, “I’m really enjoying my stay in your city and you’re a fantastic audience!” However, if I yawn, look at my watch, and don’t show enthusiasm in my gestures and expressions, what will the people in the seats believe?

  1. Facial Expressions

  2. Yawning, laughing, frowning, raised eyebrows, wincing, and others.etc.

  3. Gestures

  4. Fidgeting, scratching, and gestures not in sync with message.

  5. Body Language

  6. Slouching, leaning, and more.

  7. Body Movement

  8. Random and distracting.

  9. Clothing

  10. Stained, wrinkled, missing buttons, etc.

Sometimes Involuntary Communication can give a message we didn’t intend to deliver. Our audience might “see” us as disinterested, bored, speaking out of both sides of our mouth, and worse.

It’s imperative to be aware of what we are “telling” them with our NonVerbal Communication. Knowing that all components, parts, and elements of a presentation must be in sync, and mindful of the fact that our Involuntary NonVerbal Communication could torpedo our message, will make us better speakers!

Do you “See” what I mean?

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About the Author Fred E. Miller is a speaker, a coach, and the author of the book, “No Sweat Public Speaking!” Businesses and individuals hire him because they want to improve their Public Speaking and Presentation Skills. They do this because we perceive really great speakers to be Experts. Perception is reality, and we rather deal with Experts.

They also know: Speaking Opportunities are Business Opportunities. Speaking Opportunities are Career Opportunities. Speaking Opportunities are Leadership Opportunities.

He shows them how to: Develop, Practice, and Deliver ‘Knock Your Socks Off Presentations!’ with – NO SWEAT!

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