Great leaders are transparent and authentic when they speak. People don’t just hear their message: they see it and feel it. Their message may be carried in the words that are chosen, but it is strengthened by the tone of voice and brought to life with every gesture they make. This last element, Body language, happens to be the most powerful communication tool at your disposal and yet all too often it gets ignored or forgotten.
We’ve all heard the statistics that content counts for only 7% of the impact you have on your audience when you speak or present. Your tone of voice counts for 35% and your body language counts for 58%. Its clear that its your body that does the real talking. But I dare to state that speakrers spend 85% of their time on what to put down as content with scarcely a thought about BodyTalk.
Presenting in front of a large audience takes guts and it takes even more to inject all of the feelings and emotions behind your story into your body language. If you can be you, if you can be real in your movements, and expose your own heart, the people in the audience can open theirs. Using natural and emphatic BodyTalk can help the audience grasp your big idea. And remember it.
Martha Graham (Dancer, Martha Graham Company):
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.”
Dance has been called the purest form of art. So what can we learn from the artform that relies entirely on the body to immerse the public in a story. What can we learn from classical and modern ballet?
One of my personal heros is choreographer and dancer, Hans van Manen. Last month he celebrated his 85th birthday. I had the honour of being at the Stopera for the closing performance-evening where Hans van Manen himself was present to receive the big applause. An applause not only for that evening, but for his whole career. Nobody understands the power of body language better than he does. An unmistakeable clarity of structure and refined simplicity have defined his work and made him famous all over the world. In the unique dance langauge that he has developed, the music has always been his starting point and from here he goes back to the essence, to the core, to the dancer so that everything comes together perfectly to create the most powerful performance.
How lovely would it be if every speaker and every leader focused on their own authentic BodyTalk? What specific movements would they naturally use to demonstrate their passion or support? How would these look on-stage to an audience?
At Base Consulting we believe that far more emphasis should be put on ‘how we present’ rather than purely focusing on ‘ what we present’. That’ s why we make top leaders reflect on who they are and how they are perceived by the audience. We make sure they are aware of what they are trying to communicate but we also ask them: If this is what you really feel, what you really believe in, how would you walk, how would you talk?
Leaders and public speakers let’s be more creative, more daring and create more impact, by studying and practising your own authentic BodyTalk. Dare to be you.