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Body language dos and don’ts

I will share some tips on effective body language for spokespeople during interviews, speeches, and Q&A sessions.

  • Do sustain eye contact: when giving a speech, doing an interview, or holding a Q&A session, maintaining eye contact reflects confidence, truthfulness, and credibility.
  • Tip: Eye contact can sometimes be nerve-wracking, and there is a solution for that — look at people’s noses or foreheads. This will help reduce stress and nervousness but will look like you are maintaining eye contact.
  • Don’t cross your arms: crossing your arms is an unconscious defence mechanism, and when done, it reflects deception or the withholding of information
  • Tip: Keep your arms straight down and ‘talk with your hands’, this increases your audiences’ confidence that what you are saying is credible.
  • Do fluctuate your vocal tone: fluctuating your vocal tone indicates interest in the topic being discussed. Women tend to raise their voices while men lower theirs.
  • Don’t point fingers or use open, expansive body positions: this will indicate a sense of dominance and overpowering. You do not want this to be reflected as it will decrease the audiences’ trust in what is being said.
  • Do incline your body to the front (seating position): this shows that you are interested and are keeping a positive attitude. When you incline backwards or retract your body, it will reflect a negative attitude and a sense of distrust.
  • Tip: In one-on-one interviews, try to sit beside the interviewer. When sitting opposite from them, it may reflect competitiveness rather than cooperation
  • Don’t ‘play’ around: avoid cleaning eyeglasses, touching your mouth/nose, playing with an object, or scratching your neck. These indicate uncertainty, doubt, and indecision.
  • Tip: Keep your hands/arms open and walk in an erect manner. This shows confidence, cooperation, and honesty.

Body language and psychology are broad fields, and this blog is just the tip of the iceberg.

Antoine Boghos is Account Executive at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. |