USING BODY LANGUAGE
As you speak, it�s not just your words that send out a message. Your facial expressions and body movements can either reinforce or take away from your message. Here are some ways to make an asset of your body language.
- Your first priority is to get rid of distracting mannerisms � constantly pushing up your glasses, fooling around with your hair, etc. Problem is, these mannerisms come so naturally to us that we have no idea that we are doing them. Three strategies can solve your problems. First, ask a teammate or a youth to look for distracting mannerisms and tell you afterwards what you are doing to distract. My wife pointed out to me over and over that I continually went up on my toes, and back down again. Until then, I had no idea. Secondly, videotape yourself. It�s a thoroughly humbling experience, but humility is good for all of us. Thirdly, practice your teaching in front of a mirror. It seems kind of weird at first, but it�s great practice.
- Your second priority is to add meaningful body language. If you�re telling your audience that you�re excited about a topic, but your face says you�re bored, they may believe your face. Watch effective speakers to see how they use their bodies. Big, bold gestures work better with large audiences than small. Some gestures that work for others would seem unnatural coming from you.
Cross Cultural and Cross Generational Note>: Don't assume that meaning of gestures is universal. The American "okay" signal with the fingers is a terrible insult in many countries. I believe it�s Albania where shaking the head forward means "No" and turning it side to side means "yes." In the West, putting our hands in our pockets gives the impression of informality. In Eastern Europe, many actors portray a deceiver as one who talks with his hands in his pockets. Know how your audience reads body language!