Nonverbal Cues

Nonverbal Cues to Consider When Delivering a Speech

Be conscious of facial expressions:

  • Use them, show emotions.
  • Smile if appropriate.

Maintain eye contact:

  • Very important!
  • Look at the audience.
  • If speaking in a large room, mentally divide the audience into segments and try to look at each segment.
  • Check your visual aids, but don’t read them word-for-word.

Use gestures:

  • The upper body: your head, arms, and hands are effective.
  • Avoid standing completely still.
  • Use natural hand motions.
  • Keep the outline on podium; don’t flail your notes around.

Be aware of posture:

  • Try to look natural and at ease
  • Stand up straight, but not to the point of looking uncomfortable
  • Avoid slouching, it looks sloppy
  • Don’t shuffle your feet
  • Don’t rock back and forth or side to side

Dress to impress:

  • Consider the occasion, audience, and image you want to convey.
  • Don’t look sloppy.
  • Wear something comfortable so you are not tugging at your clothing.

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Paraphrased from A Speaker’s Guidebook, O’Hair, et. al.
Prepared by Michelle Hector, Dan Bilodeau, and Laura Siegel


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