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Increase your nonverbal know-how with pointers from presentation pro Matthew Kohut.
Matthew Kohut is the co-author of Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential.
Stretch Your Confidence “Before walking into a high-stakes situation, raise your arms as high as you can, making yourself as big as possible for a minute or two,” Kohut says. “Your mind will listen to your body’s signal, resulting in a hormonal reaction that increases your comfort level and decreases your fight-or-flight response to stress.”
Play Hand Ball “Avoid awkward gestures by imagining you have a ball in your hands. Start with a volleyball, and position both hands between your waist and your hips. Depending on the point you’re trying to make, the ball can grow to the size of a beach ball or shrink to the size of a marble between your thumb and index finger.”
Keep Your Head Up “Slightly tilting your head conveys warmth. This gesture is useful when listening attentively to someone but can be interpreted as uncertainty or a lack of confidence in a business setting. When trying to project professionalism and self-assurance, keep your head upright.”
Own the Space “There’s a difference between using space comfortably and pacing back and forth like a caged animal. Move deliberately and with a sense of purpose while you’re speaking. For example, you might walk to a specific spot, make a point or two to the people seated there, then head in the opposite direction to engage the other side of the room.”
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