When you present a speech, you send two kinds of messages to your audience. While your voice transmits a verbal message, a vast amount of information is being visually conveyed by your appearance, your manner, and your physical behavior. Research shows that more than half of all human communication takes place nonverbally. When you speak before a group, your listeners base their judgment of you and your message on what they see as well as upon what they hear.
In public speaking, your body can be an effective tool for adding emphasis and clarity to your words. It’s also your most powerful instrument for convincing an audience of your sincerity, earnestness, and enthusiasm. However, if your physical actions are distracting or suggest meanings that do not agree with your verbal message, your body can defeat your words. Whether your purpose is to inform, persuade, entertain, motivate, or inspire, your body and the personality you project must be appropriate to what you say.
To become an effective speaker, you must understand how your body speaks. You can’t stop sending your audience nonverbal messages, but you can learn to manage and control them. That’s the purpose of this manual: To help you learn to use your entire body as an instrument of speech. As you read on, you’ll learn how nonverbal messages affect an audience, what kinds of information they
transmit, how nervousness can be alleviated by purposeful physical actions, and how to make your body speak as eloquently as your words. Included are how-to sections on proper speaking posture, gestures, body movement, facial expression, eye contact, and making a positive first impression on an audience. Also featured is a special evaluation form that can help you identify your body’s spoken image. With it you’ll be able to determine your nonverbal strengths and challenges and eliminate any physical behavior that detracts from what you say during a speech. You can then use your body as a tool to make you a more effective speaker.
A gesture is a
specific bodily movement that reinforces a verbal message or conveys a
particular thought or emotion. Although gestures may be made with the head,
shoulders, or even the legs and feet, most are made with the hands and arms. Your
hands can be marvelous tools of communication when you speak. But many
inexperienced speakers are unsure what to do with their hands. Some try to get
them out of the way by putting them in their pockets or behind their backs.
Others unconsciously relieve nervous tension by performing awkward, distracting
movements. A few speakers over-gesture out of nervousness, waving their arms
and hands wildly.
gestures can suggest very precise meaning to an audience. The Indians of North
America devised a sign language that enabled people with entirely different
spoken languages to converse. Sign language has also made it possible for deaf
people to communicate without speaking.The use of gestures in communication
varies from one culture to the next. In some cultures, such as those of
Southern Europe and the Middle East, people use their hands freely and
expressively when they speak. In other cultures, people use gestures less
frequently and in a more subdued way.
gesture we make and the meanings we attach to them are products of our cultural
training. Just as cultures differ, so do the perceived meanings of gestures.
For example, nodding one’s head up and down signifies agreement or assent in
Western cultures – but in some parts of India this gesture means the exact
opposite. A common gesture used in the United States – that of making a circle
with the thumb and forefinger to indicate approval – is considered an insult
and an obscenity in many areas of the world. To be effective, a speaker’s
gestures must be purposeful – even if they’re performed unconsciously. They
must be visible to the audience. They must mean the same thing to the audience
that they mean to the speaker. And they must reflect what’s being said, as well
as the total personality behind the message.
All good speakers use gestures. Why? Gestures are probably the most evocative form of nonverbal communi- cation a speaker can employ. No other kind of physical action can enhance your speeches in as many ways as gestures. They:
Clarify and support your words. Gestures strengthen the audience’s understanding of your verbal message
Dramatize your ideas. Together with what you say, gestures help paint vivid pictures in your
Lend emphasis and vitality to the spoken word. Gestures convey your feelings and attitudes more clearly than what you say
Help dissipate nervous tension. Purposeful gestures are a good outlet for the nervous energy inherent in a speaking situation
Function as visual aids. Gestures enhance audience attentiveness and retention
Stimulate audience participation. Gestures help you indicate the response you seek from your listeners
Are highly visible. Gestures provide visual support when you address a large number of people and the entire audience may not see your eyes.
Despite the vast number of movements that qualify as gestures, all gestures can be grouped into one of the following major categories, they are :
gestures clarify or enhance a verbal message. They help the audience understand comparisons and contrasts, and visualize the size, shape, movement, location, function, and number of objects
Emphatic gestures underscore what’s being said. They indicate earnestness and conviction. For example, a clenched fist suggests strong feeling, such as anger or determination
Suggestive gestures are symbols of ideas and emotions. They help a speaker create a desired mood or express a particular thought. An open palm suggests giving or receiving, usually of an idea, while a shrug of the shoulders indicates ignorance, perplexity, or irony
Prompting gestures are used to help evoke a desired response from the audience. If you want listeners to raise their hands, applaud, or perform some specific action, you’ll enhance the response by doing it yourself as
Gestures made above the shoulder level suggest physical height, inspiration, or emotional exultation. Gestures made below shoulder level indicate rejection, apathy, or condemnation. Those made at or near shoulder level suggest calmness or serenity. The most frequently used gestures involve an open palm held outward toward the audience. The mean- ing of this type of gesture depends on the position of the palm. Holding the palm upward implies giving or receiving, although this gesture is sometimes used as an unconscious movement, with no specific intended meaning. A palm held downward can express suppression, secrecy, completion, or stability. A palm held outward toward the audience suggests halting, repulsion, negation, or abhorrence. If the palm is held perpen- dicular to the speaker’s body, it tends to imply measurement, limits in space or time, comparisons, or contrasts.
English will change the way that everyone interacts with you, ranging from your
employer to shop assistants. There are a few occupations where the quality of
your English would appear not to matter. For example footballers and athletes
succeed based on what they do, not what they say. However even for those
careers your ability to garner highly paying sponsorships is significantly
improved if you interview well and thereby enhance your media profile. ‘Language
development, which begins with talk, is central to all learning, so speaking
and listening must be valued as fundamental to expressing ideas, respecting
others and empathising with them. Speaking and listening matter for
employability and social life, so having the confidence and skill to
communicate with others orally is most important and must not be marginalised.’
On the other hand, Successful schools enable
pupils to develop confidence and competence in talk through Teaching and
assessing skills explicitly and directly:providing good models of talk:
both ‘formal’ ways of using appropriate subject terminology, and language
structures, and also models of a wide range of more informal styles;Integrating
talk into the whole curriculum:Promoting participation in events and in the
wider life of the school, e.g.: Although the draft proposals say many worthy
things in the Purpose of Study and Aimssections, there are no specific, separate
programmes of study for speaking and listening. The relatively few references
to talk focus on it as a means of learning to read, comprehend, explain and
discuss what is read; as a prelude to writing; and as developing the skills of
reading aloud what has been written. There is some partial, limited guidance on
providing models of good discussions and offering explanations and answering
If the draft programs of Study for English are
implemented in their current form, there is a danger that talk will be
devalued, regarded as just a lower order servant to the higher valued skills in
reading and writing. Given that talk is so fundamental to overall language
development, this backward move will disadvantage a whole generation of children.
to Paul Schilder (1935) in his book The
Image and Appearance of the Human Body “body’s spoken image is a
person’s perception of the aesthetics or sexual
attractiveness of their own
body”. The phrase body’s spoken image
was first coined by the Austrian neurologist and psychoanalyst . Human society
has at all times placed great value on beauty of the human body, but a person’s
perception of their own body may not correspond to society’s standards.
concept of body image is used in a number of disciplines, including psychology,
medicine, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, philosophy and cultural and feminist
studies. The term is also often used in the media. Across these disciplines and
media there is no consensus definition. A person’s body image is thought to be,
in part, a product of their personal experiences, personality, and various
social and cultural forces. A person’s sense of their own physical
appearance, usually in
relation to others or in relation to some cultural “ideal,” can shape
their body image. A person’s perception of their appearance can be different
from how others actually perceive them.
Spoken image as non-verbal communication components such as natural gestures,
body posture, eye contact, facial expression and body movements are generally
referred to as body’s spoken image. According to Emerson in his journal Gesture your body speaks, there are five indicators of effective
delivery in non-verbal communication but in this research only two components
which represent the body’s spoken image:
Eye Contact is important aspects of communicating with an audience,
other people providing important social and emotional information. The eyes can
indicate natural, not set pattern, established which represent the interest,
attention, and involvement.
How a speaker
moves is important. Effective body language support the message and projects a
strong image of the presenter. It will indicate the bowing, handshake, salute.
According to Sandy Linver (1994) in her book
Speak and Get results “Speaking skills, despite their basis in techniques
easily acquired and practiced, are not often ranked among other popular forms
of self-improvement. Improved speaking skills are also beneficial both
personally and professionally. An effective spoken image is among the many
appropriate and legitimate tools to be employed in gaining success. It’s like
the expertise that has made you a valued financial analyst,made your economic
forecast worth listening to, made your the situation at hand”.On the other
hand, body’s spoken image includes in pronunciation.