6 Body Language Hacks to help you nail your next presentation like a professional Master of Ceremonies / MC (2019)
By Luke Hannan
Check these top 6 body language hacks to have you speaking like a Professional Master of Ceremonies, MC or Paid Keynote Speaker in no time!!!
Following are my favourite techniques that I use every day during Corporate Presentations, as a Conference MC and when Public Speaking.
Read on, take note and use these 6 body language hacks to take your Public Speaking and Presentation Skills to the next level.
Posture Posture Posture
If buying a house is about location location location, then professional level speaking or presenting all starts with posture posture posture.
Why is posture so very important?
As a professional Master of Ceremonies / Conference MC I’m extremely fortunate to see hundreds, even thousands or amazing speakers each and every year work their magic on the stages of Conferences all over the World.
Correcting your posture is probably not the smallest or easiest change you’ll make when stepping up the quality of your presentations - But how you stand or sit when you’ve got the floor is the foundation on which you’ll build all of your other presentation & Speaking skills - so as you embark upon your journey toward getting it right; you and especially your audience will definitely see one of the biggest uplifts in quality in the quality of your delivery as a speaker or presenter.
Speaking is a physical action. When we talk, muscles in our tummies (our diaphragms) contract to squeeze air from our lungs, this air passes out of our lungs, via the vocal chords (that produces sound a.k.a. our voice) and it reverberates through our lower skull, past our tongue and out of our mouths and the world hears our message - but are they really listening???
Take lifting weights at the gym - for anyone who has ever dead-lifted or squatted over a long period of time, you’ll know that form is the key to keeping your body safe, importantly - good form is also the key to getting stronger and importantly lifting more!!!
If you’re not a gym junkie consider a 100m sprinter, optimal form means better conversion of muscle movement into forward motion (which in turn means you get the the end of the track faster)
If you’re not using your diaphragm properly people will still hear you, and you can still speak - but are you getting the most out of the speaking armory that your body represents?
First and foremost it pays to be in shape - stay fit - practise Yoga and hit the gym, do push ups, planks, squats in your bedroom - if you truly want fitness you’ll get it on any budget with any time frame - check eBay out for those selling their gym sets for $0.99 as they’re in a hurry to move - it’s all there - you’ve just got to want it bad enough…. Stamina and physical fitness help me as a Professional Master of Ceremonies and remember that the journey of a thousand miles starts it’s the first step - so get out there!!
Think mountain pose in yoga - but bring your hands in front of your belly button (don’t clasp…) and stand stall, straight yet relaxed. Quite often as a Conference MC I’ll be behind a lectern whilst as a sporting event or cocktail function as a Master of Ceremonies I’ll be standing either on stage or at ground level- in the case of sporting events and usually walking around within the crowd - IN BOTH CASES I’ll always stand relatively the same when speaking
PRO TIP: The Lectern may seem like a great place to hide when your nervous about your speech or presentation but let’s be real here; you’re presenting or speaking on stage and in front of a crowd (they know you’re there) so resist the urge the to:
Check out the posture tips in the below Talking tip
The Eyes are the window to the soul and if you’re looking to build that next level intimate connection with your audience - look into them.
Whether it’s an audience of 1, or 1,000 you’ll almost always be able to see peoples eyes. Sometimes as a Master of Ceremonies for a massive Gala Dinner (think 400+ people) I’ve found that the lights can be rather bright - but you can still lock onto those sitting close.
Quality not Quantity
The Boss Trap
Learn more here
Hands Hands Hands - behinds your eyes I truly believe these little puppies are arguably your most powerful body language tools!!!
Use em’ well, and your ability to convey a message (i.e. communicate) will drastically improve - so how do you keep those bad boys locked and loaded ready to fire on your suspecting audience at all times when duty calls? Here’s my top 3:
Although we like to dance like no-one is watching & sing like no-one is listening - Hand gestures when your public speaking of presenting have to power to really take your presenting to the next level or alternatively confuse your audience with preponderant un-coordination. Get it right and you’ll transition from beginner to intermediate and then expert in a compressed timeframe. Your audience will be raving so be sure to present like a professional - Use your hands.
In a study done by Science of People - check out https://www.scienceofpeople.com/hand-gestures/ found that in an average TED talk (some 18 minutes) - the most popular TED talkers used their hands almost twice as much as the least favourite TED talks (some 465 vs 272) - that’s pretty insane and of course the quality of content, delivery and so many other variables affect the popularity of TED talks - but numbers are numbers.
If you’re an advanced speaker looking to boost their gesture repertoire I’d strongly suggest to read the entire blog post by Science of People - https://www.scienceofpeople.com/hand-gestures/ it’s super detailed, however if you’re just beginning, perhaps you’ve got your first MC assignment or Public Speaking task ahead of you - start small.
Here are my 3 golden rules of Hand Gestures
The same thing happens with hands - let’s say you’re standing in for a friend as a Wedding MC and are verbally ”Welcoming” guests but your hands are pushing them away - it’s not congruent and it will affect your ability to deliver key messages (i.e. communicate) with your audience.
Practice, Prepare & Persevere: 3 P’s that ill help you,
Ensure your hands are open
MOVEMENT WHILST ON STAGE
So you’re on stage, rocking it and now what - shall we be the Statue of Liberty or a child with ants in their pants…..?
If you’re behind a lectern (using a lectern Microphone) you’ll honestly need to stay put… sure feel free to walk around - but know that if you do (not only will your MC be festering you to move back to the Mic) but the audience won’t be able to hear you…
PRO TIP: when speaking at a lectern and referring to slides…. Know that your voice projects all around you, but in therms of Microphone Pick-up you’ll need to be speaking into the mic. If you’re talking and need to turn around - use this opportunity for some silence (because your voice will drop right off in terms of volume if you look away when speaking
If you’re free to roam. When a lapel microphone (or a handheld) the stage is your domain - use it wisely and don’t be running left / right / left right…. Here’s how I avoid pacing left to right and in doing to I keep the necks of my audiences safe (and MC like a boss…)
There are no hard and fast rules to movement on stage - save that less is quite often more, go slow, get feedback and be sure to reflect on how you move the next time you’re on stage or presenting / public speaking.
TAKING YOUR POSITION ON STAGE
This is an easy fix as the start of your Speech or Presentation and slightly tougher to remember to execute at the end.
If your speaking where there is a Professional Master of Ceremonies the audience will know who you are & why you are there (Any Professional MC should have reset the audience, introduced you and discussed in brief your why)
BEFORE YOUR CALLED ONTO STAGE (key considerations)
WHEN IT’S TIME TO ROCK & ROLL!!!
When you’re called on stage, or your time arrives to present / speak;
ONCE THE MAGIC IS OVER
Ahh the pressure is off & the crowd goes wild!!!! What now….
Normally in a conference your Master of Ceremonies or Compere will begin speaking, thank you again, facilitate Q&A and again sing your praises. Once that is finished, slowly make your way off stage and remember that although you’re now extremely relaxed (as it’s all over) do not drop your guard. Silly comments or jokes can ruin all the good work you’ve put in. So with appropriate place (not crawling or sprinting) make your way off stage.
If there’s no MC you may have to take questions yourself more on Q&A later. But once all is over, again, don’t rush off stage. Take your time, relax and I always like to hold for just a moment when the applause is roaring to just soak it in for a tic (not too long though - then it just gets awkward….)
There's my top 6!!
There are so many body language tips and tricks, all of which have been integral in me taking the quality in my MC / Master of Ceremonies opportunities to a higher level.
For more public speaking tips and training - check out the suite of video at:
And now I’d love to hear from you:
Which strategy from today’s post are you excited to try first?
let me know by leaving a comment below!