Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

Here's a rule of thumb assuming that your audience is neutral about your topic. Only 10 per cent of your impact is in your content - 90 per cent is in how you deliver the content. Much of that 90 per cent is in your body language. if you ignore that, you're neglecting a fountain of natural, built-in credibility. Try this mental exercise:

Stage one: eyes

Imagine that you’re standing in front of your audience, looking around at them as you speak. At first, all you move is your eyes. Body and head are like a statue. Go on, try it… Do that to a real audience and I promise they wouldn't even buy a used idea from you.  We don't trust people who don't move their head and body naturally as they speak.

Stage two: eyes and head

Keep your body still, but move your eyes and head together as you speak. This is higher credibility, it creates more trust, and it’s what most presenters do.

Now, do you want full credibility? Full authority? Full trust?

Stage three: eyes, head and body

Then move eyes, head and body together, even when sitting.

Watch any good presenter and you’ll see that when they turn towards part of the audience, their shoulders turn and their spine tilts in the direction of their gaze. The turn and tilt may be very slight, but it must be there.

Watch two colleagues talking casually in the office and the chances are you'll see both of them involving their entire upper bodies naturally, without even thinking about it. It's the pressure of speaking in the spotlight that makes us clamp down on these natural signals.


About Michael Brown

michael semiformal 460x300

Michael is a senior trainer with Skillset, based in Christchurch.

He is a leading authority on training in presentation and news media skills in New Zealand. He has special expertise in how to present emotionally-charged topics to challenging audiences. Michael has trained thousands of New Zealanders and worked with people who speak on behalf of some of the country's largest organisations.

Michael is a prolific author and his books on speaking and working with the media are in their fourth editions.

Speaking Easy: how to speak to your audiences with confidence and authority

Media Easy: how to handle the news media with confidence and authority

One of Michael's books is about his family's adventures sailing in the Pacific.

Interested in training in presentation skills?

We can help your presenters engage their audiences – whether they are speaking at major conferences, presenting to the community or colleagues, or speaking up at a meeting.

Learn more

Interested in training in media skills?

Our experienced media trainers can show your spokespeople how to work with the media so that everyone benefits.

Learn more