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Tip – Add Dramatic Effect to Your Stories with Slight Changes to Your Body Language

By June 6, 2016 February 9th, 2019 No Comments
demonstrated body language with same women in three illustrative positions with her hands face and body

Do you think about what you say when talking? Of course you do. Do you think about your voice and your body language as well? Few people do. When you speak, you are blending your words, body, and voice simultaneously… unconsciously… naturally.

What doesn’t come natural is how to deliberately use each of these three separately and together again to heighten drama, improve rapport, emphasize points, and a lot more… Adding a little drama goes a long way to making your story more interesting and more memorable.

For this tip, let’s focus on body language and how to add dramatic effect. At a high level, what you are doing is 1) exaggerating your body language movement and gestures and 2) deliberating adding gestures to complement what you are saying.

Experiment, mix, and test the suggestions below to find the ones that work best for you and your stories.

BODY LANGUAGE SUGGESTIONS

  1. Posture.  Tensing your body adds a hint of stress. Stand straight up and stiffen your body like a wood board. Perhaps even clench your jaw
  2. Make a Fist:  Squeeze your hands and ball them into fists… this could indicate anger, frustration, and/or passion
  3. Eyes.  Open them wide, really wide and at the same time, slightly move your head and shoulders backward
  4. Arms.  Make exaggerated arm motions while stopping “abruptly,” almost as if your arm was momentarily like a robot
  5. Face. Smile wider than you normally would. Ensure your facial expressions are obvious and slightly exaggerated. Hold the expression for 2 to 3 seconds, ensuring your audience can see it.
  6. Hands. Use your hands deliberately to complement your facial expressions and words. Cup your hear to indicate listening. Spread your hands wider than you normally would to indicate size. And Move your hands to chest-height, to ensure your audiences can see the hand gestures.

WATCH OTHER SPEAKERS & TRAINERS

Watch other speakers and presenters. Watch how the speaker uses his/her body. Would you do the same thing?  What would you do differently? Free resources include TED, TEDx, University Business Schools (e.g., Harvard, Wharton, and Stanford), Company Speaker Series (Google Talks and LinkedIn Speaker Series),  Political Speeches, and more

As you become comfortable using your body more, deliberately alternate and blend these techniques together.

Photography Source: DepositPhotos

Ira Koretsky

About Ira Koretsky

Ira Koretsky has built The Chief Storyteller® into one of the most recognized names in business storytelling. He has delivered over 500 keynote presentations and workshops in nearly a dozen countries, in more than one hundred cities, across 30 plus industries. His specialties are simplifying the complex and communicating when the stakes are high. He is also an adjunct professor in public speaking and storytelling at the University of Maryland's Business School. With over 25 years of experience, he is a sought-after global speaker, trainer, consultant, and executive communication coach.