How to use body language to stand out

Body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions are critical tools that help paint the full picture of your business presentation’s core message.

Delivering presentations

By 

Emily Branch

Delivering presentations

By 

Emily Branch

3 minutes

“Your body communicates as well as your mouth. Don’t contradict yourself.”
–Allen Ruddock, Irish martial arts teacher


Body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions are critical tools that help paint the full picture of your business presentation’s core message. In fact, they can be equally if not more impactful than words themselves.

Founder and CEO of Body Talk, Richard Newman, couldn’t agree more. As an outspoken advocate for the power of nonverbal communication, Richard argues that body language can betray our words if we aren’t careful.

In Episode 24 of Think Deeply, Speak Simply—How Do Our Bodies Talk?—Richard shared some practical suggestions on how to keep your nonverbal communication aligned with your message.

Read on to learn his favorite secrets of successful communication.

Focus on congruency

To be a successful communicator, you must prioritize the art of congruency. Simply put, the art of congruency means that your body language, tone of voice, and words all need to follow the same direction. For example, if you’re a business leader that wants to express excitement to your audience during a presentation—you need to show it!

If you get in front of your listeners sounding like a monotone zombie, the crowd will mimic your lack of enthusiasm. Instead, you must commit to the emotion you’re trying to inspire. Gestures and facial expressions are powerful tools that will help you spark a connection with your listeners.

Don't be a one-trick pony

A mistake that many presenters frequently make is relying on a single gesture that they’re confident in. What they don’t know is that this can be visually annoying to their audience and provoke them to stop listening entirely. To avoid making this mistake, be sure to employ a variety of different gestures throughout your business presentation. This will help keep your audience stimulated and engaged.

This can be especially powerful for virtual communication. If you’re giving a presentation over Zoom or Microsoft Teams, be sure to mimic raising a hand when posing a query to your audience. This will help tell them that you're not asking a rhetorical question. Many studies are also revealing that people who gesture more on camera achieve more views on social media. Data collected throughout the pandemic shows that speakers who react mechanically while storytelling or fielding questions are often less favorable with listeners. People crave authenticity and transparency so be sure to showcase a humanizing communication style that allows others to see and connect with you.

Elevate your communication game by using these body language tips. Listen to the full Richard Newman episode here.