How to stand during a meeting

Studies show 55% of how we communicate is through our body language

And it’s easy to see why – when someone walks into a room you make a snap decision based on a number of physical attributes.

How you stand in front of a room of your peers can give away a lot about you – are you nervous, ill-prepared, confident or tired?

Make sure you give a good impression with these simple tips.

Be still

Watch great stand-up comics as they come onto stage. They don’t just go straight into a joke, they’ll come to the microphone and simply stand for a few seconds, looking into the audience or taking a drink. Stillness conveys calm, confidence and will bring all eyes to you.

This isn’t to say you should keep completely still like a statue throughout. If you’ve got a large space between you and the audience, take a walk to the front and then back. Own the space.

Or if you want to make a point, move closer to the audience – just make sure any movement is an active choice and not just nervous pacing.

Be an open book

Shoulders back, eyes front and arms open. These all suggest honesty and confidence, and should help your audience to relax and trust you.

Folding your arms is fine – just don’t combine it with hunched shoulders and eyes on the floor otherwise you’ll come across like a moody teen.

Try to keep your legs at shoulder width apart. This not only opens your body but also gives you a stable footing. You don’t want your legs getting caught up in each other while you’re presenting.

Step forward

It’s our natural instinct to move away from danger. The same applies in meetings when you’re confronted by a question you don’t know the answer to or an angry attendee.

But, by simply moving towards them, you suggest confidence and engagement.

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Try it when someone asks a question. Take a small step towards them when you begin your answer – this lets them know they have your full attention, even if you don’t know the answer.

Know your body

Before you go into a meeting, stand and look at yourself in a mirror. Where are your hands, are your legs crossed, is your foot jiggling?

Fidgeting hands or tapping toes can be a sign that you’re nervous. There’s no issue with this as long as you’re aware you’re doing it and can stop once you pick up on it.

A simple gesture

Gesturing can be a useful storytelling tool. A simple movement of your hands can suggest space, the passing of time or the physical attributes of someone. These can give your anecdotes a ring of truth and draw the listener in.

But try and keep them simple. Don’t go waving your hands around for the sake of it as it will look like you’re trying to distract attendees from your words.

 

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Posted by Ashleigh Sharp

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