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The Importance Of Body Language In Public Speaking

Picture this: you’re standing in front of a crowd, ready to deliver a speech. As you begin, words flow from your mouth with confidence and conviction. But did you know that it’s not just your words that are speaking volumes? Your body language, the way you hold yourself, move, and gesture, is silently conveying a wealth of information to your audience. That’s the importance of body language in public speaking.

When we think of communication, we often focus on what we say. But studies show that a staggering 55% of communication is actually conveyed through body language. Our facial expressions, hand movements, posture, and even eye contact can greatly impact how our message is received. So, if you want to become a powerful and persuasive public speaker, mastering your body language is key.

Effective body language can enhance your speech in numerous ways. It helps you connect with your audience on a deeper level, build trust and credibility, and convey confidence and authority. By using open and expansive gestures, maintaining good eye contact, and adopting an upright posture, you signal to your audience that you are confident in your message and believe in what you’re saying. This nonverbal communication helps captivate your listeners and keeps them engaged throughout your presentation.

So, whether you’re talking to a small group or addressing a large crowd, understanding and utilizing the power of body language is essential for effective public speaking. By aligning your words with your nonverbal cues, you can create a powerful and compelling message that resonates with your audience. In the following paragraphs, we’ll explore the different aspects of body language and how you can harness its power to become a more effective and impactful public speaker. Are you ready to take your speaking skills to the next level? Let’s dive in!

the importance of body language in public speaking

Table of Contents

The Importance of Body Language in Public Speaking: Unlocking the Power of Non-Verbal Communication

Public speaking is not just about what you say, but how you say it. In fact, studies have shown that body language plays a crucial role in effective communication, often even more so than the words we choose. Whether you’re presenting at a conference, giving a TED talk, or delivering a speech at a wedding, understanding and utilizing the power of body language can greatly enhance your impact and connection with the audience. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of body language in public speaking and how you can leverage them to become a more confident and influential speaker.

Mastering the Art of Eye Contact: Establishing Trust and Connection

Making eye contact is one of the most fundamental and powerful aspects of body language in public speaking. When you look directly into someone’s eyes, it creates a genuine connection and establishes trust. Eye contact also communicates confidence and indicates that you value your audience’s presence and participation. However, maintaining eye contact can be challenging, especially if you’re nervous or speaking to a large crowd. Here are a few tips to help you master the art of eye contact:

1. Scan the room: Take a few moments before your speech to scan the room and make eye contact with different individuals in the audience. This will help you establish a connection right from the start.

2. Use the Triangle Technique: Divide the audience into three sections – left, center, and right. Rotate your eye contact between these sections, focusing on individuals for a few seconds before moving on to someone else. This ensures that everyone feels seen and engaged.

3. Pause and Connect: Whenever you make a particularly important or impactful statement, pause for a moment and lock eyes with someone in the audience. This not only reinforces your message but also creates a more personal connection with your listeners.

Remember, maintaining eye contact may feel uncomfortable initially, but with practice, it will become second nature and greatly enhance your public speaking skills.

The Power of Posture: Conveying Confidence and Authority

Your posture speaks volumes about your confidence and authority as a speaker. How you carry yourself on stage can influence how your message is received by the audience. Here are some key points to keep in mind when it comes to posture in public speaking:

1. Stand Tall: Stand up straight with your shoulders back and your head held high. This posture not only conveys confidence but also allows for proper airflow, enabling you to project your voice more effectively.

2. Occupy Space: Take up space on the stage. Avoid crossing your arms or clutching onto the podium. Instead, use hand gestures to emphasize key points and move around the stage, taking advantage of the entire space.

3. Use Mirroring: Mirroring is a powerful technique that involves subtly mimicking the body language of your audience. This can help build rapport and make your listeners feel more connected to you. However, be mindful not to overdo it, as it should be done subtly and naturally.

By paying attention to your posture, you can present yourself as a confident and authoritative speaker, which will captivate your audience and command their attention.

The Impact of Gestures: Enhancing Communication and Body Language

Gestures are another essential component of body language that can greatly enhance your communication and engagement with the audience. Here are some ways you can effectively utilize gestures in your public speaking:

1. Use Open Palm Gestures: Open palm gestures are seen as more welcoming and trustworthy. Instead of pointing or making closed-fist gestures, opt for open palms to convey openness and inclusion.

2. Emphasize with Purpose: Use gestures to emphasize key points in your speech. For example, you can use your hands to illustrate the size of something or create visual imagery that complements your words. Just be sure that your gestures are intentional and aligned with your message.

3. Be Mindful of Nervous Habits: Nervous habits like fidgeting, tapping your foot, or playing with your hair can be distracting to your audience and undermine your credibility. Be aware of these habits and work on minimizing or eliminating them through practice and self-awareness.

Incorporating purposeful and mindful gestures into your public speaking can not only make your delivery more engaging but also help to reinforce your message and capture your audience’s attention. Practice in front of a mirror or record yourself to identify areas for improvement and ensure your gestures are in alignment with your message.

The Role of Facial Expressions: Conveying Emotion and Authenticity

Facial expressions are a critical component of body language in public speaking, as they can convey emotion, enhance your authenticity, and capture the attention of your audience. Here are some tips for utilizing facial expressions effectively:

1. Smile: A genuine smile can instantly create a positive and welcoming atmosphere. Smiling also helps to establish rapport and make your audience feel more at ease.

2. Show Passion: Let your face reflect your passion and enthusiasm for your topic. Use your eyebrows, eyes, and mouth to demonstrate interest, excitement, or concern, depending on the nature of your speech.

3. Be Authentic: Allow your facial expressions to be natural and in line with how you genuinely feel. Authenticity is key to building trust and connecting with your audience on a deeper level.

Remember that facial expressions can be contagious, so by showing genuine emotion, you can create an emotional connection with your listeners and make your message more impactful.

The Impact of Vocal Delivery: Tone, Pitch, and Pauses

While body language primarily refers to non-verbal communication, vocal delivery is an integral part of public speaking and greatly influences how your message is received by the audience. Here are some key aspects of vocal delivery to consider:

1. Tone: Pay attention to the tone of your voice. Varying your tone can help convey different emotions and add depth to your message. Speak with warmth, authority, or urgency, depending on what is appropriate for your topic.

2. Pitch: Explore the range of your voice and utilize both high and low pitches to add variety and captivate your audience’s attention. However, be mindful of an excessively high or low pitch, as it can come across as unnatural or annoying.

3. Pauses: Effective use of pauses can create emphasis, allow your audience to process information, and build anticipation. Use strategic pauses before or after important points to make them stand out and give your listeners time to absorb the information.

By paying attention to your vocal delivery, you can amplify the impact of your message and keep your audience engaged throughout your speech.

The Role of Proxemics: Using Space to Connect with Your Audience

Proxemics refers to the study of how people use space to communicate and interact with one another. By understanding the principles of proxemics, you can use space effectively to connect with your audience and enhance your public speaking. Here are a few ways you can leverage proxemics:

1. Stand at the Edge: Rather than staying glued to the center of the stage, try standing at the edge closest to the audience. This will create a sense of intimacy and allow you to establish a stronger connection.

2. Move Purposefully: Use purposeful movement to engage your audience and create a dynamic atmosphere. Walking towards an individual or a specific area can draw attention and emphasize key points.

3. Respect Personal Space: Be mindful of personal space and audience comfort. If you move too close to someone, it may make them feel uncomfortable. Give individuals room to breathe and maintain a respectful distance.

By using space intentionally and respectfully, you can create a more immersive and engaging experience for your audience, amplifying the impact of your public speaking.

Finding Your Authentic Self: Balancing Body Language and Personal Style

When it comes to body language in public speaking, it’s crucial to strike a balance between following best practices and staying true to your authentic self. While incorporating effective body language techniques can enhance your communication, it’s essential to adapt them to your personal style and comfort level. Ultimately, your body language should align with your personality and the message you want to convey. Experiment, practice, and find what works best for you. Embrace your unique style while leveraging the power of body language to become a more confident, influential, and impactful speaker.

Remember, mastering body language in public speaking takes time and practice. Start by implementing one or two techniques at a time and gradually incorporate more as you become comfortable. By investing in your non-verbal communication skills, you can elevate your public speaking to new heights, connect with your audience on a deeper level, and leave a lasting impression. So, take the stage, own your body language, and let your words speak through your actions.

The Importance of Body Language in Public Speaking

  • Body language can greatly enhance your public speaking skills and help you connect with your audience.
  • Using open and confident gestures can convey authority and credibility.
  • Eye contact shows engagement and builds trust with your audience.
  • Good posture makes you appear more confident and professional.
  • Using facial expressions effectively can help convey emotions and enhance your message.

Frequently Asked Questions

In public speaking, body language plays a crucial role in effectively conveying your message and connecting with your audience. It helps you establish credibility, engage your listeners, and enhance the overall impact of your speech. Here are some key questions and answers about the importance of body language in public speaking.

1. How does body language impact public speaking?

Body language is a powerful form of nonverbal communication that can greatly influence how your message is perceived by the audience. It includes your facial expressions, gestures, posture, and eye contact. By using appropriate body language, you can convey confidence, enthusiasm, and sincerity, which are key elements in engaging and persuading your audience. Poor body language, on the other hand, can make you appear nervous, untrustworthy, or disinterested, leading to a diminished impact on your listeners.

Moreover, body language can help enhance your verbal message by emphasizing key points, adding visual interest, and reinforcing the emotions you want to convey. It can also help establish a connection with your audience, making them more receptive to your ideas and boosting their engagement throughout your speech.

2. How can eye contact improve public speaking?

Eye contact is a fundamental aspect of effective public speaking. When you maintain eye contact with your audience, it shows that you are present and focused on them. It creates a sense of connection and trust, making your listeners feel valued and involved in the conversation. Eye contact also helps you gauge the audience’s reaction, allowing you to adjust your delivery accordingly and maintain their attention.

Furthermore, eye contact helps establish rapport with the audience. When you look directly at individuals in the crowd, it gives the impression that you are speaking to each person individually, fostering a stronger connection and engagement. By making intentional eye contact, you can effectively establish your credibility, build trust, and have a more impactful presentation.

3. What role does posture play in public speaking?

Your posture during a public speaking engagement can greatly influence how your audience perceives you. When you stand tall with an open posture, it conveys confidence, authority, and approachability. This can instantly captivate your listeners and make them more receptive to your message. Conversely, slouching or maintaining a closed-off posture can make you appear insecure, unprofessional, or disinterested, diminishing your credibility and the impact of your speech.

In addition to the impression it creates, posture also affects your own state of mind during public speaking. Standing up straight and maintaining a confident posture can help boost your own confidence and reduce nervousness. Proper posture enables better breathing and vocal projection, allowing you to deliver your message with clarity and conviction.

4. How important are facial expressions in public speaking?

Facial expressions are a vital component of body language that can significantly contribute to the effectiveness of your public speaking. Your face is capable of conveying a wide range of emotions, and leveraging this tool can help you engage your audience on a deeper level. Expressions such as smiles, raised eyebrows, or frowns can immediately communicate enthusiasm, empathy, concern, or seriousness, depending on the context of your speech.

Using appropriate and authentic facial expressions can help you establish a rapport with your audience and convey your message with greater impact. When your facial expressions align with the emotions and content of your speech, it enhances your credibility, and helps your listeners connect with your message on an emotional level. It also helps keep your audience engaged and attentive throughout your presentation.

5. What gestures are effective in public speaking?

Gestures are physical movements of the arms, hands, and body that can add emphasis and visual interest to your public speaking. They can help illustrate your points, demonstrate concepts, and make your message more memorable. Effective gestures are intentional, purposeful, and aligned with the content and emotions you want to convey.

Some commonly used gestures in public speaking include open palms to convey sincerity and openness, pointing to emphasize specific details, and using hand movements to illustrate size, shape, or direction. However, it’s important to use gestures sparingly, ensuring they enhance your message rather than distract from it. Avoid overly repetitive or exaggerated gestures, as they can come across as artificial or distracting to your audience.

the importance of body language in public speaking 2

So, what did we learn about body language in public speaking? First, our body language says a lot about us, even when we’re not speaking. Second, our gestures, posture, and facial expressions can help us communicate effectively.

Remember, standing tall and making eye contact can boost your confidence and connect you with your audience. Lastly, don’t forget the power of a smile and using your hands to emphasize important points. So, next time you’re up in front of a crowd, pay attention to your body language and make a lasting impression!

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Introduction, the power of non-verbal communication, in academic settings, the role of body language in interviews and evaluations, cultural considerations, the impact of body language on collaboration, declarations.

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Unspoken science: exploring the significance of body language in science and academia

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Mansi Patil, Vishal Patil, Unisha Katre, Unspoken science: exploring the significance of body language in science and academia, European Heart Journal , Volume 45, Issue 4, 21 January 2024, Pages 250–252, https://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehad598

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Scientific presentations serve as a platform for researchers to share their work and engage with their peers. Science and academia rely heavily on effective communication to share knowledge and foster collaboration. Science and academia are domains deeply rooted in the pursuit of knowledge and the exchange of ideas. While the focus is often on the content of research papers, lectures, and presentations, there is another form of communication that plays a significant role in these fields: body language. Non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions, gestures, posture, and eye contact, can convey a wealth of information, often subtly influencing interpersonal dynamics and the perception of scientific work. In this article, we will delve into the unspoken science of body language, exploring its significance in science and academia. It is essential to emphasize on the importance of body language in scientific and academic settings, highlighting its impact on presentations, interactions, interviews, and collaborations. Additionally, cultural considerations and the implications for cross-cultural communication are explored. By understanding the unspoken science of body language, researchers and academics can enhance their communication skills and promote a more inclusive and productive scientific community.

Communication is a multi-faceted process, and words are only one aspect of it. Research suggests that non-verbal communication constitutes a substantial portion of human interaction, often conveying information that words alone cannot. Body language has a direct impact on how people perceive and interpret scientific ideas and findings. 1 For example, a presenter who maintains confident eye contact, uses purposeful gestures, and exhibits an open posture is likely to be seen as more credible and persuasive compared with someone who fidgets, avoids eye contact, and displays closed-off body language ( Figure 1 ).

Types of non-verbal communications.2 Non-verbal communication comprises of haptics, gestures, proxemics, facial expressions, paralinguistics, body language, appearance, eye contact, and artefacts.

Types of non-verbal communications. 2 Non-verbal communication comprises of haptics, gestures, proxemics, facial expressions, paralinguistics, body language, appearance, eye contact, and artefacts.

In academia, body language plays a crucial role in various contexts. During lectures, professors who use engaging body language, such as animated gestures and expressive facial expressions, can captivate their students and enhance the learning experience. Similarly, students who exhibit attentive and respectful body language, such as maintaining eye contact and nodding, signal their interest and engagement in the subject matter. 3

Body language also influences interactions between colleagues and supervisors. For instance, in a laboratory setting, researchers who display confident and open body language are more likely to be perceived as competent and reliable by their peers. Conversely, individuals who exhibit closed-off or defensive body language may inadvertently create an environment that inhibits collaboration and knowledge sharing. The impact of haptics in research collaboration and networking lies in its potential to enhance interpersonal connections and convey emotions, thereby fostering a deeper sense of empathy and engagement among participants.

Interviews and evaluations are critical moments in academic and scientific careers. Body language can significantly impact the outcomes of these processes. Candidates who display confident body language, including good posture, firm handshakes, and appropriate gestures, are more likely to make positive impressions on interviewers or evaluators. Conversely, individuals who exhibit nervousness or closed-off body language may unwittingly convey a lack of confidence or competence, even if their qualifications are strong. Recognizing the power of body language in these situations allows individuals to present themselves more effectively and positively.

Non-verbal cues play a pivotal role during interviews and conferences, where researchers and academics showcase their work. When attending conferences or presenting research, scientists must be aware of their body language to effectively convey their expertise and credibility. Confident body language can inspire confidence in others, making it easier to establish professional connections, garner support for research projects, and secure collaborations.

Similarly, during job interviews, body language can significantly impact the outcome. The facial non-verbal elements of an interviewee in a job interview setting can have a great effect on their chances of being hired. The face as a whole, the eyes, and the mouth are features that are looked at and observed by the interviewer as they makes their judgements on the person’s effective work ability. The more an applicant genuinely smiles and has their eyes’ non-verbal message match their mouth’s non-verbal message, they will be more likely to get hired than those who do not. As proven, that first impression can be made in only milliseconds; thus, it is crucial for an applicant to pass that first test. It paints the road for the rest of the interview process. 4

While body language is a universal form of communication, it is important to recognize that its interpretation can vary across cultures. Different cultures have distinct norms and expectations regarding body language, and what may be seen as confident in one culture may be interpreted differently in another. 5 It is crucial for scientists and academics to be aware of these cultural nuances to foster effective cross-cultural communication and understanding. Awareness of cultural nuances is crucial in fostering effective cross-cultural communication and understanding. Scientists and academics engaged in international collaborations or interactions should familiarize themselves with cultural differences to avoid misunderstandings and promote respectful and inclusive communication.

Collaboration lies at the heart of scientific progress and academic success. Body language plays a significant role in building trust and establishing effective collaboration among researchers and academics. Open and inviting body language, along with active listening skills, can foster an environment where ideas can be freely exchanged, leading to innovative breakthroughs. In research collaboration and networking, proxemics can significantly affect the level of trust and rapport between researchers. Respecting each other’s personal space and maintaining appropriate distances during interactions can foster a more positive and productive working relationship, leading to better communication and idea exchange ( Figure 2 ). Furthermore, being aware of cultural variations in proxemics can help researchers navigate diverse networking contexts, promoting cross-cultural understanding and enabling more fruitful international collaborations.

Overcoming the barrier of communication. The following factors are important for overcoming the barriers in communication, namely, using culturally appropriate language, being observant, assuming positive intentions, avoiding being judgemental, identifying and controlling bias, slowing down responses, emphasizing relationships, seeking help from interpreters, being eager to learn and adapt, and being empathetic.

Overcoming the barrier of communication. The following factors are important for overcoming the barriers in communication, namely, using culturally appropriate language, being observant, assuming positive intentions, avoiding being judgemental, identifying and controlling bias, slowing down responses, emphasizing relationships, seeking help from interpreters, being eager to learn and adapt, and being empathetic.

On the other hand, negative body language, such as crossed arms, lack of eye contact, or dismissive gestures, can signal disinterest or disagreement, hindering collaboration and stifling the flow of ideas. Recognizing and addressing such non-verbal cues can help create a more inclusive and productive scientific community.

Effective communication is paramount in science and academia, where the exchange of ideas and knowledge fuels progress. While the scientific community often focuses on the power of words, it is crucial not to send across conflicting verbal and non-verbal cues. While much attention is given to verbal communication, the significance of non-verbal cues, specifically body language, cannot be overlooked. Body language encompasses facial expressions, gestures, posture, eye contact, and other non-verbal behaviours that convey information beyond words.

Disclosure of Interest

There are no conflicts of interests from all authors.

Baugh AD , Vanderbilt AA , Baugh RF . Communication training is inadequate: the role of deception, non-verbal communication, and cultural proficiency . Med Educ Online 2020 ; 25 : 1820228 . https://doi.org/10.1080/10872981.2020.1820228

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Aralia . 8 Nonverbal Tips for Public Speaking . Aralia Education Technology. https://www.aralia.com/helpful-information/nonverbal-tips-public-speaking/ (22 July 2023, date last accessed)

Danesi M . Nonverbal communication. In: Understanding Nonverbal Communication : Boomsburry Academic , 2022 ; 121 – 162 . https://doi.org/10.5040/9781350152670.ch-001

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Cortez R , Marshall D , Yang C , Luong L . First impressions, cultural assimilation, and hireability in job interviews: examining body language and facial expressions’ impact on employer’s perceptions of applicants . Concordia J Commun Res 2017 ; 4 . https://doi.org/10.54416/dgjn3336

Pozzer-Ardenghi L . Nonverbal aspects of communication and interaction and their role in teaching and learning science. In: The World of Science Education . Netherlands : Brill , 2009 , 259 – 271 . https://doi.org/10.1163/9789087907471_019

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The Importance of Body Language in Public Speaking

Coach Mike

So what exactly is body language?

Body language refers to the nonverbal cues that individuals use to communicate their thoughts, feelings, and intentions. These cues can include facial expressions, gestures, posture, and eye contact. Body language is an essential aspect of communication, as it can convey messages that words alone cannot. In public speaking, body language can be used to enhance the speaker's message and engage the audience.

Understanding and utilizing effective body language can help speakers build rapport with their audience, establish credibility, and convey confidence and authority.

Importance of body language in public speaking

Body language is an essential aspect of public speaking as it can convey a speaker's confidence, credibility, and authenticity. Nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, gestures, and posture can help a speaker connect with their audience and emphasize key points in their speech.

Effective body language can also help a speaker overcome nervousness and establish a positive rapport with their listeners. Conversely, poor body language can distract from a speaker's message and undermine their credibility. Therefore, it is crucial for speakers to be aware of their body language and use it to enhance their message and engage their audience.

Nonverbal Communication

Facial expressions.

Facial expressions are a crucial aspect of body language in public speaking. The face is the most expressive part of the body, and it can convey a wide range of emotions and attitudes. A speaker's facial expressions can help to establish rapport with the audience, convey sincerity and authenticity, and emphasize key points. For example, a smile can help to create a positive and welcoming atmosphere, while a furrowed brow can signal concern or seriousness.

It's important for speakers to be aware of their facial expressions and to use them intentionally to enhance their message. However, it's also important to avoid over-exaggeration or insincere expressions, as these can undermine the speaker's credibility.

Gestures are a crucial aspect of body language in public speaking. They can help emphasize key points, convey emotions, and engage the audience. However, it is important to use gestures in moderation and ensure they are appropriate for the message being conveyed.

Overusing gestures or using inappropriate ones can distract the audience and detract from the overall effectiveness of the speech. It is also important to be aware of cultural differences in gestures and avoid using ones that may be offensive or misunderstood by certain audiences.

Posture is a crucial element of body language in public speaking. Your posture can convey confidence, authority, and credibility to your audience. Standing up straight with your shoulders back and your head held high can make you appear more confident and in control. On the other hand, slouching or hunching over can make you seem unsure or uninterested in what you're saying.

It's also important to be aware of your movements and avoid fidgeting or pacing, as this can be distracting to your audience. By maintaining good posture, you can project a positive image and engage your audience more effectively.

Eye contact

Eye contact is an essential aspect of body language in public speaking. It helps to establish a connection between the speaker and the audience. Maintaining eye contact with the audience shows that the speaker is confident, trustworthy, and interested in what they have to say. It also helps to keep the audience engaged and focused on the speaker's message.

However, it is important to strike a balance between maintaining eye contact and not making the audience uncomfortable. The speaker should avoid staring or making prolonged eye contact with any individual in the audience. Instead, they should make eye contact with different individuals in the audience to create a sense of inclusivity and engagement.

How Body Language Affects Your Audience

Establishing credibility.

Establishing credibility is crucial in public speaking, and body language plays a significant role in achieving it. When a speaker stands tall with their shoulders back and head held high, they exude confidence and authority. Maintaining eye contact with the audience and using appropriate gestures can also help establish credibility.

On the other hand, slouching, fidgeting, and avoiding eye contact can make a speaker appear nervous or unprepared, undermining their credibility. By using strong and confident body language, a speaker can establish trust with their audience and effectively convey their message.

Engaging your audience

Engaging your audience is crucial in public speaking, and body language plays a significant role in achieving this. To engage your audience, you need to make eye contact, smile, and use gestures that match your words. Your body language should be confident and open, indicating that you are comfortable and in control.

Moreover, employing body language to accentuate key points, such as subtly leaning forward or utilizing purposeful hand gestures to emphasize specific words or phrases, allows you to forge a genuine connection with your audience and sustain their unwavering interest in your message..

Conveying confidence

Conveying confidence is crucial in public speaking, and body language plays a significant role in achieving this. Standing tall with shoulders back and maintaining eye contact with the audience can convey a sense of authority and confidence. Gesturing with purpose and using open, expansive movements can also project confidence and enthusiasm.

On the other hand, fidgeting, slouching, and avoiding eye contact can signal nervousness and lack of confidence. By being mindful of their body language, speakers can project confidence and credibility, which can help them connect with their audience and deliver a more effective presentation.

Creating a positive impression

Creating a positive impression is crucial in public speaking, and body language plays a significant role in achieving this. To create a positive impression, it is essential to maintain eye contact with the audience, smile, and use open and confident body language. Standing tall with shoulders back and arms uncrossed conveys confidence and authority, while leaning forward slightly shows engagement and interest.

Moreover, incorporating purposeful hand gestures to accentuate significant points can effectively captivate and sustain the audience's interest throughout the presentation. By employing authentic body language, speakers can establish a genuine connection with their audience, leaving a lasting and impactful impression.

Tips for Improving Your Body Language

Practice in front of a mirror.

Practicing in front of a mirror is an effective way to improve your body language during public speaking. It allows you to see how you look and make adjustments to your posture, gestures, and facial expressions. You can also practice maintaining eye contact with yourself, which can help you feel more comfortable making eye contact with your audience.

Additionally, practicing in front of a mirror can help you identify any nervous habits or tics that you may have and work to eliminate them. By regularly practicing in front of a mirror, you can become more confident and polished in your public speaking skills.

Record yourself speaking

Recording yourself speaking is an excellent way to become more aware of your body language during public speaking. By watching yourself on video, you can identify any nervous habits or distracting movements that you may not have noticed before. You can also observe how your body language enhances or detracts from your message.

Additionally, recording yourself allows you to practice and refine your delivery, making you more confident and effective in future presentations. So, the next time you have a speaking engagement, consider recording yourself beforehand to improve your body language and overall performance.

Be aware of your posture

Your posture plays a crucial role in public speaking. It not only affects your physical appearance but also your mental state. Standing tall with your shoulders back and your chest out exudes confidence and authority. On the other hand, slouching or hunching over can make you appear nervous and unsure. Additionally, maintaining good posture can help you breathe more easily, which is essential for projecting your voice and maintaining a steady pace.

So, before you step onto the stage, take a moment to check your posture and make any necessary adjustments. Your audience will appreciate the confidence and professionalism that comes with good posture.

Use gestures to emphasize key points

Using gestures to emphasize key points is a powerful tool in public speaking. Gestures can help to convey emotions and add emphasis to important points, making them more memorable to the audience. However, it is important to use gestures in a natural and authentic way, rather than forcing them or using them excessively.

Effective gestures can include pointing, hand movements, and facial expressions, and should be used in conjunction with vocal emphasis to create a dynamic and engaging presentation. By using gestures effectively, speakers can enhance their message and connect with their audience on a deeper level.

Maintain eye contact with your audience

Maintaining eye contact with your audience is crucial in public speaking. It helps to establish a connection with your listeners and shows that you are confident and trustworthy. When you make eye contact, you are also able to gauge the audience's reactions and adjust your delivery accordingly.

However, it's important to remember not to stare or focus on one person for too long, as this can make them uncomfortable. Instead, make eye contact with different individuals throughout the room to ensure that everyone feels included and engaged.

Recap of the importance of body language in public speaking

In summary, body language plays a crucial role in public speaking. It can help to convey confidence, credibility, and authority to the audience. Effective use of body language can also enhance the speaker's message and engage the audience. Conversely, poor body language can detract from the speaker's message and create a negative impression.

Therefore, it is essential for speakers to pay attention to their body language and use it to their advantage when delivering a speech. By doing so, they can increase their chances of delivering a successful and impactful presentation.

What's Next? Practice and improve

Encouragement to practice and improve your body language skills is essential for becoming an effective public speaker. It may seem daunting at first, but with consistent effort and practice, you can improve your nonverbal communication and enhance your overall message. Start by recording yourself speaking and analyzing your body language.

Take note of any nervous habits or distracting movements and work on eliminating them. Additionally, seek feedback from others and attend public speaking workshops to learn new techniques and strategies. Remember, body language is a powerful tool that can make or break your message, so it's worth investing time and effort into improving it.

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Positive Body Language in Public Speaking: Dos and Don'ts

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  • Public-Speaking
  • November 16, 2021

Communication consists of both verbal and nonverbal components. Verbal communication uses words, but nonverbal communication involves gestures, facial expressions, and body language. Effective communication sometimes necessitates a harmonious blend of verbal and nonverbal factors.

Nonverbal communication is the quiet delivery of a message to an audience or individual. Face-to-face communication increases the dependability of interpersonal interactions. Scientists and experts are still decoding countless clues and recommendations in body language art, which is a complex form of expression.

Body Language

Body language refers to reflexive or non-reflexive actions of a section or entire body, such as facial expressions, eye contact, posture, gestures, and so on, that are used to convey information. Body language, whether intentional or not, is the nonverbal behavior that we employ to communicate with others.

We seldom notice ourselves, yet we are continuously expressing nonverbal information through our body language. To deliver a good presentation and captivate the audience, we must talk with purpose and poise using our bodies, which means we must master our body language. Consider the message you want to convey, and then use body language to support it. In other words, knowing body language is an important public speaking skill.

Body language is extremely important when giving a public speech. Good body language immediately builds a connection with your audience or peers.

No matter how brilliant the subject of your speech is, if you deliver it without emotion or poise, the audience will lose interest. The audience, after all, values good involvement from the speaker more than the subject itself. Not that content is unimportant, but strong body language can outperform a speaker who does not place a high value on body language.

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Your body language should match the content of your speech. If you intend to say yes, nodding yes is an excellent approach to convey. Furthermore, the power of nonverbal communication goes both ways. Those who lack a solid understanding of body language may struggle not only in academic settings but also in personal interactions.

Positive body language should be emphasized and taught to children since it builds confidence, raises self-esteem, and improves nonverbal persuasive skills. Fortunately, body language can be taught to children at an early age, while their subconscious minds are still developing and beneficial habits are easier to build.

Nonverbal Communication in Public Speaking

Positive Body Language: What to Do and What Not to Do

Let's go over some Do's of Positive body language.

1. Maintain Eye-contact

Maintain constant and gentle eye contact with everyone, since this demonstrates that the speaker cares about listening. This indicates your confidence and authenticity. People commonly believe that those who try to conceal anything have difficulties looking you in the eyes, which is right. To create an effect and develop trust, make eye contact that is purposeful and non-piercing.

2. Significant Hand Gestures

Hand gestures are a great way to support any speech. Appropriate and non-distracting movement can add significant liveliness to your speech. A closed hand shows denial or aggression, and we don't want that, do we? Keep your palms open and express yourself through your hand movements.

3. Posture: Open Body

Keep your stance as broad and upright as possible. If you have a slouchy posture, you may look unwelcome and uneasy. Not to mention lacking confidence. A closed body distracts the audience. Instead of standing stiffly to one side, turn to face the audience and make careful, little movements.

4. Smile Please

Giving a genuine smile is the quickest way to people's hearts.  A kind expression demonstrates your confidence and cheerful personality. Also, people will perceive you to be approachable. The same is not valid if you have a very deadly look on your face. So, don’t be afraid to brighten everyone’s day and smile.

5. Keep the Correct Distance

When you stand too far away from the person you're talking to, they'll notice that you're uncomfortable. If you stand too near to them, you may make them uncomfortable. The same is true for the masses. The proper thing to do is to maintain a healthy closeness without infringing anyone's personal space.

6. Greet When Required

Greetings are used to greet and recognize another person's presence. Handshakes, a quick slap on the back, an informal embrace, or rising up when someone authoritative arrives are all forms of welcome. Let your handshake be quick and forceful, but not overly tight or casual. Understand your audience and reply accordingly.

These were some Dos; now let's get into the Don'ts.

1. Avoid slouching or fidgeting

Moving the eyes downward to the floor increases the likelihood of slouching. Attempt to stand straight. Look into the eyes of those in the audience. We recommend practice looking up when speaking to avoid slouching. Fidgeting is common when you first start performing on stage, and the only way to eliminate it is to practice. As a result, we strongly advocate for teacher-led training.

We focus hugely on all these aspects and offer  Public Speaking classes  conducted by highly qualified and experienced teachers. These classes can help children in grades 3-8 be maestro in delivering speeches effectively.

2. Don't Cross Arms

When you cross your arms, the audience gets the impression that you've defended yourself, as if you're hiding something or resisting it. It's as if you're speaking but don't want to express yourself freely. That is the perception it makes. Avoid crossing your arms and utilize beautiful hand motions instead!

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3. Maintain Facial Expression

The most common mistake committed by presenters is seeming dull or communicating strong emotions through their facial expressions. When describing anything personal, make careful to express your emotions. Don't get caught up in it, and don't overdo it. Return to the context of the discussion. As a result, you must resume a neutral facial expression.

Finally, using good body language will help your child enhance their public speaking skills and become a more confident speaker. To enhance your public speaking talents, it is always preferable to get advice from a certified coach. 98thPercentile Public Speaking classes can provide your child with the most suitable assistance in conquering the skills. To get your child excited about Public Speaking , check out our Public Speaking Program.

Book a free trial class for Public Speaking with 98thPercentile today!

Related Articles

1. from nervous to natural: overcoming 5 public speaking anxieties, 2. how do i start learning public speaking, 3. effective communication strategies in public speaking.

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More From Forbes

How your body language affects your public speaking -- and what to do about it.

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Most of the research on posture and public speaking has focused on two aspects of body language that seem to offer opportunities for improvement with relatively little work.

First of all, there’s all the study of what Amy Cuddy calls “power poses.” The idea is to stand up straight, or to take up more space by putting your hands on your hips like Wonder Woman, or to smile broadly to indicate confidence. The basic idea with all this conscious positioning of the body is that if your mind finds you standing or smiling confidently, you’ll feel more confident.

Cuddy’s initial research seemed to show that merely standing powerfully would cause your body to issue more testosterone and less of the stress hormones. Subsequent research failed to support these initial findings, but participants do report reliably feeling (subjectively) better. So if power posing makes you feel better, there’s no reason not to do it.

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The second aspect of body language research and speaking in this regard focuses on how your posture and gestures influence not yourself but other people – the audience.

Here the findings are more nuanced and complicated, but summing up, openness of the speaker’s body language, and her closeness to the audience both improve its positive reception of and higher ratings of the speaker.

In short, then, the research suggests that before the speech you should practice powerful poses in order to make yourself feel more confident, and during the speech you should focus on staying open and moving toward the audience to the extent possible, without actually sitting in their laps.

But there’s a catch. You didn’t think it would be that easy, did you? A new study found that students who relaxed their body language – slouched, in fact, in comfortable chairs – freed up more of their cognitive power for solving math problems. If the same students were made to focus on sitting up straight at their desks, they had fewer brain cycles to spare and performed more poorly on their exams.

What this research suggests is that focusing on body language with your conscious mind – activity normally left to the unconscious mind – takes some brain cycles away from thinking about the content of your speech, or anything else, for that matter.

Your conscious mind can handle something like 40 bps of information. That’s not very much, and so normally most of the important work of keeping you going, walking, talking, and chewing gum falls to your unconscious mind, which can handle something like eleven million bps. If that unconscious mind operated in such a way as to cause you to naturally adopt a power pose before you spoke, and then stay open and close to your audience while speaking, you wouldn’t have to think about it (consciously) and public speaking would be a little easier.

But unfortunately, the instinctive behavior of the unconscious mind is to retreat from and close off from large crowds, in order to play it safe. And power poses? Not so much. More like their opposite, the hide-in-a-corner-in-a-fetal-position pose comes to mind.

So to learn to speak well and successfully, in addition to mastering your content, figuring out what to wear, and a host of other desiderata, you need to shift responsibility for your body language and posture to your conscious mind – preferably while practicing your speech adequately – for as long as it takes to ensure a good result during the actual speech.

One thing is sure. If you avoid thinking about your posture and body language, and leave it to chance, then you will get the instinctive body language and posture that humans have evolved to respond to threats with: self-protective, withdrawing, and timorous. Is that the persona you wish to project?

Nick Morgan

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Body Language in Public Speaking: How to Master It

body language in public speaking

Public speaking can be daunting. Even seasoned speakers can sometimes lack confidence and poise in front of a crowd. Your words may be carefully constructed, but what about your body language? Are you making the best use of everything from your head tilt to your hand gestures to create the most impressionable, powerful performance? It can be hard to know where to start when it comes to improving your body language for public speaking. After all, there’s so much to take into account. Which can make you even more anxious! But never fear – in this blog post we’ll show you how to master your body language and make your public speaking more impactful. We’ll cover basics, like posture and facial expressions, to finer details, like microphone technique, to ensure you make the right impression every time. So let’s get started on taking your public speaking to the next level – the only way is up!

Quick Answer

Using body language when giving a speech or presentation can help to convey your message more effectively and engage the audience. Make sure to avoid any nervous habits such as fidgeting and maintain good posture. Use hand gestures and facial expressions sparingly and intentionally for maximum effect.

Understanding Body Language

Understanding body language is key for any public speaker to be successful in creating an impact. On one hand, researchers suggest that body language can provide insight into a person’s true feelings, intentions and thoughts.

Whether it be positive reinforcement like a thumbs-up or negative reinforcement like facial expressions of frustration - body language always plays an important role in the understanding of communication.

Additionally, during the speaking portion of a presentation, a speaker’s posture will affect their delivery, giving off strong signals of confidence and power when done correctly. On the other hand, many people have studied nonverbal communication and report mixed findings on its accuracy. 

distracted-speaker

Our own biases as individuals tend to influence our interpretation of what we observe in another’s body language. Context can also play a big role in how we interpret cues - something that someone may consider as confident body language could easily be considered intimidating or aggressive depending on the scenario and the audience it is being given to. Overall, understanding the basics of both verbal and nonverbal communication is essential for any successful public speaker to make an impactful statement. By understanding these essential differences between each form of speaking, a speaker can craft their presentation accurately and congruently in order to achieve their desired outcome. Now that an understanding of body language has been discussed, the following section will discuss "What is Body Language" in further detail.

Must-Know Summary Points

Body language, both positive and negative, plays an important role in communication. Body language can influence how successful a public speaker is, as their posture not only affects delivery but also signals confidence and power.

The interpretation of nonverbal communication, however, can be affected by the individual's biases and context-dependent cues. To make a successful impact through speaking publicly, one must understand both verbal and nonverbal forms of communication.

What is Body Language?

Body language is a form of communication that uses nonverbal cues, such as posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact to convey messages. It is defined as “ the behavior that one displays during communication through body movements, posture, and gestures .” 

president

Body language can be used to express a variety of emotions, including happiness, anger, sadness, confusion, or surprise. It is also an effective way to make a point or emphasize something important when delivering a speech. Body language can be both beneficial and detrimental depending on the context in which it is used. For instance, standing up straight with your arms crossed applied can make you appear more authoritative or confident. On the other hand, this gesture may come off as aggressive and intimidating if the tone of your message isn't aligned with the assertive body language. By being mindful of our body posture and movements before and during a presentation we can ensure that the message we are trying to convey is accurately interpreted by our audience. With a better understanding of how body language affects public speaking, we can use it to our advantage and create meaningful connections that foster trust and respect with our audience. In the next section we will explore how to use body language to make your public speaking more impactful.

The Impact of Body Language

When it comes to public speaking, what we say matters, but the way we say it matters even more. Body language is a universal language and can have an immense impact on how your message is received by an audience. Often times, before you have even said your first word, your body language has already spoken thousands of words to the audience. The lines of your face, curve of your throat, folds in your clothing and the look in your eye all speak volumes about how you are feeling and what kind of attitude you bring to the podium. For example, if a speaker appears tense or closed-off, it may cause some audience members to become defensive or uncomfortable. But if a speaker comes across as open and confident, it helps put the audience at ease and encourages them to respond positively to what they hear. Body language can also have numerous other nonverbal communication benefits during public speaking . For example, well-timed pauses , emphasis on certain points through gestures, and capturing attention with eye contact can all help take an average speech and turn it into something that really resonates with the listener. On the other hand, there’s no denying that people’s perception of body language can be highly subjective. While certain body language cues such as crossed arms may be indicative of being closed off to ideas that don't align with one’s own beliefs for some people, for others crossed arms may simply mean deep concentration.

why

So its important to keep in mind that how we interpret someone else’s body language largely reflects our own preconceived notions rather than calling out any specific trait of another person. The impact of body language when giving a public presentation should not be underestimated - it can turn a mediocre performance into something extraordinary by creating a connection with listeners and keeping them engaged throughout. Now let's take a closer look at how you can use body language effectively during public speaking to maximize this impact.

Body Language During Public Speaking

Body language during public speaking can have a huge influence on the delivery of your speech, as well as your overall success. The way you move and use your body to convey your message is one of the most important elements of delivering an effective presentation . Your body language can reveal how confident or hesitant you are about the material you’re conveying and how engaged or disinterested your audience is. When speaking in front of people, maintaining an open body language can demonstrate your confidence and help put them at ease. Some people tend to cross their arms when they become nervous , which can come off as confrontational or even hostile.

How-to-Become-a-Motivational-Speaker

Your posture should be relaxed but upright—avoid slouching or hunching over, as this comes off as unprofessional and may signal a lack of confidence in yourself and your message. On the other hand, standing too straight and rigid can also be intimidating. Standing with your feet slightly apart in an open stance conveys openness and comfort with yourself and your message. Your facial expressions should also match what you’re saying—a grimace when telling a funny story, for example, is confusing for the audience. It’s important to stay aware of flinching or winking too much, which can make it seem like you’re not paying attention to what you’re saying or are uncomfortable with the content. Make sure to look out for any unintentional visual cues that might distract or confuse your audience. Keeping good posture and making sure your movements coincide with the flow of your speech will enable you to project confidence and enthusiasm that will keep your audience engaged throughout the duration of your presentation.

Your facial expressions play an equally vital role in helping you get your point across efficiently so it’s important to become aware of them while speaking. With greater awareness and practice, mastering nonverbal communication during public speaking will become easier and more natural. Next we will discuss how facial expressions and posture play key roles in how impactful a speaker is during public presentations.

Facial Expressions and Posture

The way we use facial expressions and posture when speaking publicly has a huge influence on how people perceive us. Our eyes, forehead, mouth, and chin all send organic cues to others about our feelings and thoughts.

It’s important to pay attention to the signals our faces are sending, making sure they are intentional rather than merely fleeting. Additionally, our posture speaks volumes when it comes to communicating with an audience. One of the most important gestures that can help you connect with your audience is smiling. A charming smile can boost credibility, increase positive reactions, and help keep the atmosphere light-hearted.

facial-expressions

On the other hand, the opposite can also be true: frowning and furrowing your eyebrows may distract or upset a room of listeners. So practice your presentation with a big smile and choose wisely when changing expressions during your speech. In addition to facial expression, posture is essential in public speaking. Standing up straight and tall projects strength and authority while slouching signals weakness and uncertainty. By standing up with proper posture while speaking publicly you give off an impression of capability and confidence, which will make people better listen to what you have to say.

For example, when talking to an audience try planting your feet hip-width apart; this will ground yourself in your message. Slumping or swaying back-and-forth sends a negative message about self-belief that your audience can sense subconsciously; so pay attention to subtle adjustments that express dedication and seriousness for your speech topic . Overall, facial expressions and posture play an integral role in public speaking as they set up tangible associations with the message one is trying to communicate as a speaker or presenter. Next up in this article we will discuss practical tips for utilizing body language during public speaking.

Tips for Using Body Language in Public Speaking

When preparing to give a public speech , body language plays an essential role in connecting with and impressing your audience. It can be used to emphasize key points and create the kind of lasting impression you want to make. Here are some tips for using body language effectively: 1. Stand Confidently – A confident posture expresses power, passion, and conviction. Keep your hands at your sides instead of crossed over your chest as this has been shown to make people appear more defensive and tense. Make sure your body weight is well-distributed by standing with both feet firmly planted on the ground. 2. Don’t Fidget – People tend to fidget when nervous and this can be distracting or even annoying to an audience. To combat this, practice presenting in front of a mirror so that you can become familiar with how you move and where you may need to adjust. 3. Use Intentional Gestures – If done properly, gestures can help add energy and excitement to an otherwise dull presentation. Avoid robotic gestures that don’t mean anything; practice deliberate gestures that connect with the topic or point you are making in meaningful ways for maximum impact. 4. Make Eye Contact – People love it when presenters look them directly in the eye because it makes them feel included in the action, connected to their speakers, and more likely to remember what was spoken about. Aim for 3-5 seconds of direct eye contact with each person who is listening so that you communicate strong, vibrant energy throughout the room. By taking advantage of these speaking techniques and using meaningful gestures, powerful stances, and confident looks, you will have presented a far more impactful speech than had any of these body language methods been overlooked or neglected. Now, let's talk about common mistakes to avoid when delivering public speeches...

  • Research studies show that a speaker's body language accounts for up to 93% of their communication when presenting (although this may not be true).
  • Effective body language can help to create rapport between the presenter and the audience, leading to more effective communication
  • Studies have shown that positive body language, such as open and inviting gestures, can help increase audience engagement and understanding of the message.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Public speaking is a challenging endeavor, and even seasoned presenters can make mistakes. It can be easy to forget about the need for attentive body language if you get too caught up in your presentation. To mitigate the possibility of ‘faux pas’, it is important to understand some common blunders that can lessen the impact of your performance. It is vital to avoid maintaining an unfavorable facial expression; for instance, scowling or yawning. Such expressions tend to leave negative impressions, making it difficult to maintain attention. Instead, try to adopt a relaxed and pleasant facial expression which will help put people at ease and keep them engaged.

nervous-speaker

Your posture is another essential aspect of body language. Don’t slouch or hunch your shoulders as this position communicates a lack of confidence or enthusiasm and disengages the audience. Aim to stand with even proportions; your feet shoulder-width apart with your chest held up and arms loose by your side. This establishes a stance that suggests dynamism, engagement, and assurance - words you want associated with yourself and your speech. On the other hand, it is also important not to contort yourself into an over-assertive pose that may distract from the content of your address. Many speakers adopt hyperextended poses such as spreading their arms wide and pacing back-and-forth across the stage setting their audience on edge rather than inspiring them with confidence in the speaker’s message. In conclusion, practice mindful body language when speaking publicly: maintain a friendly expression, appropriate posture, and avoid gestures that detract from what matters most -your presentation content! Building self-confidence to ensure successful public speaking requires both clever content delivery and skillful manipulation of body language – something we will explore further in the following section on building self-confidence while speaking publicly.

Building Your Self-Confidence

Confidence is the cornerstone of public speaking. It is essential for conveying effective messages and connecting with your audience. Building up your self-confidence before a speech or presentation will ensure that you are ready to deliver an impactful performance. Here are some strategic tips for increasing your self-confidence when you take the stage: 1. Practice, practice, practice – Before delivering a speech, engaging in multiple rehearsals helps individuals become more familiar and comfortable with their material. Rehearsing enables speakers to focus on specific points of their speech and practice the flow and delivery of their words with precision.

Additionally, rehearsing also provides an opportunity to perfect and enhance content that can potentially elevate the level of enthusiasm within your audience. 2. Boost your posture – Holding yourself in a “power pose” can be an effective way to channel confidence both onstage and offstage. Highlighting important moments with dramatic gesture indicates a grounded, passionate presence that leaves a lasting impression on viewers.

When people feel as if they can trust and respect who is communicating a message, it increases engagement and creates opportunities to further dialogue or discussion afterwards. 3. Set attainable goals – Curating manageable objectives for yourself is another great way to build self-confidence before going on stage. This includes building out an agenda (also known as ‘ speaker notes ’) that lays out talking points and bullets important sections of your presentation beforehand so that you can confidently navigate transitions between slides or topics during delivery.

Setting clear expectations beforehand not only reminds the speaker what topics are of importance, but it also offers direction so speaking becomes easier when conducting research or writing scripts ahead of time.

speaking-infront-of-mirror

4. Visualize success – Visualization is another form of preparation that can have significant effects on one’s self-confidence levels prior to taking the stage. It involves creating vivid mental images related to successful performance while simultaneously reminding oneself that they have successfully conquered other speaking engagements prior preceding this one; this essentially helps make it easier transitioning from anxiousness into preparedness pre-speech day nerves. Confidence can be seen as both an intrinsic quality associated with personality traits such as charisma, charm, poise and eloquence, as well as something environmental or situational like body language, external feedback or attitude surrounding a particular event or task at hand that contributes to overall comfortability levels onstage (or offstage).

Consequently it can be argued that one needs both external factors working in tandem with personality attributes to establish robust personal confidence capable of maximizing success onstage as a public speaker; however where people depict various levels of comfortability with how each contributes towards self-efficacy depends largely upon individual beliefs about their own character and abilities involving communication(s).

Ultimately, developing strategies for harnessing confidence for public speaking requires individuals to assess what works best for them based upon what makes them feel most prepared & competent when under pressure - that’s why it’s important to review all available options prior developing tactical plans designed to elevate public speaking performances; good luck!

Most Common Questions

How does body language emphasize content when public speaking.

Body language is an important factor when it comes to emphasizing content when public speaking. This is because people tend to take in nonverbal cues more than verbal cues. S

tudies have shown that 93% of communication is nonverbal, which means that what you do with your body language can be just as influential as the words you use.

When delivering a presentation or speech, gestures and movements can be used to emphasize key points, draw attention to certain ideas, and add depth and meaning to the content.

For example, making large hand gestures when discussing a significant idea helps communicate a powerful message, while pointing at relevant diagrams or visuals helps guide the audience’s attention toward important information.

Additionally, maintaining strong and confident posture while speaking also sends a signal of authority and helps engage listeners. Ultimately, by deliberately incorporating body language into presentations or speeches, presenters can effectively emphasize the content being presented and increase its impact on audiences.

What are some common mistakes to avoid with body language in public speaking?

One of the most common mistakes to avoid with body language in public speaking is not maintaining good posture. Keeping your head up and shoulders back shows confidence. Avoid slouching, which can make you appear uncomfortable or insecure.

Additionally, avoid excessive movements such as fidgeting, gesturing too much or rocking back and forth. These habits can be distracting to your audience and detract from the message that you are trying to get across. Another mistake to avoid is using negative gestures and facial expressions. Too many negative expressions like frowns or eyerolls can provide a conflicting message to your audience, weakening the impact of your words.

As a speaker, it’s important to project confidence, so negative body language can be counter-productive. Smiling or looking positive while speaking will give off a confident air and help keep the atmosphere positive and engaging. Finally, be aware of how much space you are taking up and remain conscious of what your body is saying. Invading too much personal space makes people in the audience feel uncomfortable.

Be sure to match people’s body language cues so that it doesn’t come off as aggressive or intimidating. By paying attention to these small nuances, you will be able to properly control your body language in public speaking and make a bigger impression on your audience!

What are the most important tips for using body language in public speaking?

The most important tips for using body language in public speaking are: 1. Establish good eye contact - to your audience, look around the room and make sure to engage people with eye contact at different points while you speak. 2. Use open body language - avoid postures that suggest discomfort or lack of confidence such as crossed arms, fidgeting, and avoiding direct eye contact. Instead, strive to use body language that suggests openness and comfort. 3. Use gestures to emphasize points - gestures can help engage your audience, amplify the message you're trying to get across, and give energy to your presentation. Practice beforehand what gestures will help accentuate each point in your presentation and use them appropriately when speaking. 4. Use facial expressions - don't just stand still like a statue! Make sure to smile, frown, use surprise and other subtle expressions as appropriate to convey emotion with your words and make your story come alive for the audience. 5. Vary Your Speech Pace & Volume - vary the speed of your delivery based on the content of your speech and don't forget about pushing up or down on the volume of your voice for multi-syllable words or when emphasizing a point – movement of your hands can be helpful too! Using these tips during public speaking can help make it more impactful and have better results in conveying your message across effectively to any audience.

importance of body language in public speaking essay

  • Body Language in in Public Speaking: Why and How it’s Important
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An audience decides within seconds if they trust the speaker on stage. These seconds are used to look at how the speaker presents him- or herself. If they don’t trust him or her, it won’t matter what the speaker says, they won’t be able to persuade.

Actrice Mae West once said: 

Often, what you say makes less of an impact than how you act. Your movement, gestures, and voice send out an important message!

What is body language?

Body language is part of non-verbal communication. It is the combination of movements, gestures, and postures. This includes the way a speaker talks, moves and looks on stage. Body language is part of the message a speaker wants to give.

Many people only think body language is only about the way you position yourself on stage. This is a big part of it, but there is much more. Body language shows your confidence. The right attitude on stage gives you an air of authority, which supports your story.

Your body language can make or break your presentation.

The importance of body language in public speaking

Why is body language important? You can say that having the wrong body language makes that your talk almost can’t be a success. You need a lot of talent on other elements to make up for bad body language.

Some examples of bad body language include: turning your back to the audience, moving around too much or hiding behind a desk. Gesturing also can have a bad influence on your talk. Being too aggressive in your gestures, drumming your fingers or even biting your nails are also bad examples.

But even when you aren’t doing a bad job, improving your body language can have a big effect. Especially on the way, the audience receives your talk. It can make a difference between a nice talk and actually persuading people. This is why it is important for everyone to pay attention to.

importance of body language in public speaking essay

What to pay attention to

Good body language means you are paying attention to different elements. For example, you have to know how to move, where to look, where to stand and what gestures to make.

Looking at your audience

Are you looking towards your audience? Or are you one of those speakers who have a tendency to look behind you at the screen? Are you giving your entire audience the attention and not just a happy few?

Where are you on stage?

As a speaker, you always have to be aware of where you are on stage. It means you have to think about where you will sit in a panel discussion and where to (not) move to when walking around.

This is why for example the TED conference has a circle speakers can’t move out of.

Happy vs sad

What message are you getting across with your body? Are you showing happiness? Or are you sad? This reflects on your audience!

Importance of facial expressions: are you smiling?

Did you know for example that smiling makes people more comfortable with you as a speaker? Your facial expressions are extremely important in public speaking. The way you look says a lot about how you feel and about your message. At the same time, you don’t want to be smiling through a very serious story. Your facial expressions should be in line with the story.

Think about your energy level

How much energy are you putting into your talk? Too little energy will make your audience fall asleep. Then again, too much will make them pay less attention to your message!

Be in control!

Audiences love speakers who are in control. If a speaker shows strength, the audience will believe the speaker’s words faster. This means standing up straight and powerful, but also learning how to avoid saying stop-words like “uhm” all the time. ( Learn here how to stop saying Uhm )

What gestures are you making? Are you using your hands and not hiding them in your pockets? Are you pointing, being expressive?

Are you training your body language?

Good body language can be trained. You can do this by rehearsing or practising in front of colleagues. Just be careful with rehearsing in front of a mirror.

More articles on body language

  • How to stop saying “uhm” and other filler words in your talk
  • How to be (more) loveable like Pavarotti
  • How body language can impact an audience
  • Why you shouldn’t be rehearsing in front of a mirror
  • Use your Facial Expressions to make your audience feel emotions
  • Where to sit in a panel discussion
  • The power of a smile in presentations
  • The why of the TED Circle

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Five Ways to Improve Your Body Language During a Speech

  • Strategic Communication

Exuding confidence while public speaking can seem unimaginable to some people. It’s easy to assume that professional speakers are just naturally gifted. However, underneath that confidence lies years of training and practice. Stage presence is a learned skill.

Communications focuses on the goal and the audience, and speakers are most credible when they meet audience expectations. If “we develop the mannerisms of a leader, we’ll be perceived as such,” explains  Jesse Scinto  (’12SPS Strategic Communication), Fulbright U.S. Scholar and lecturer in Columbia University’s graduate  Strategic Communication  program. “Our audience will take these outward signs as cues to credibility and strength.”

He recommends mastery of these five important techniques:

1. Leadership Gaze

When speaking to a group, focus on one person at a time for the length of a thought. When there’s a natural pause, shift your gaze to someone new. Speakers should avoid sweeping the room with their eyes or letting their eyes dart up to the ceiling or to the side, which may signal uncertainty. If your lips are moving, your eyes should be locked onto someone else’s.

2. Resolute Stance

Plant your feet shoulder width apart when you’re speaking. Avoid shifting from side to side. Also avoid pacing or speaking while walking. Moving around signals unsettledness and uncertainty. If you want to move to another area of the stage, walk there purposefully, plant your feet and make eye contact before you start speaking again.

3. Emphatic Gestures

Use gestures for emphasis. Bring both hands up ­simultaneously with open palms facing each other as if you were holding a large ball and gesture symmetrically on important words. When you’re not motioning, keep your hands comfortably at your side. Avoid clasping them, placing them in your pocket, and defensive postures like crossing your arms.

4. Vocal Vigor

Be loud enough that people in the last row can easily hear you. This may feel embarrassingly loud, but sound dissipates quickly in a big or carpeted room. To project your voice to the last row, you have to breathe and speak from the diaphragm. Place your hand on your stomach and take a deep breath so your diaphragm expands. Use this air to support your words.

5. Focused Feedback

Feedback is critical. Most trainers incorporate some combination of peer review and video recording. Videotaping people allows them to see their leadership presence and how they are in terms of the way they speak to people. In time, we can become more aware of what we’re doing in the moment and coach ourselves to more useful behaviors.

Read more on enhancing your stage presence at  Toastmasters  and learn about the  Programs in Strategic Communication   at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies.

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What is body language?

The importance of body language, types of body language and nonverbal communication, how body language can go wrong, how to improve nonverbal communication, tip 1: learn to manage stress in the moment, tip 2: develop your emotional awareness, tip 3: better read body language, body language and nonverbal communication communicating without words.

Your facial expressions, gestures, posture, and tone of voice are powerful communication tools. Here’s how to read and use body language to build better relationships at home and work.

importance of body language in public speaking essay

Body language is the use of physical behavior, expressions, and mannerisms to communicate nonverbally, often done instinctively rather than consciously. Whether you’re aware of it or not, when you interact with others, you’re continuously giving and receiving wordless signals. All of your nonverbal behaviors—the gestures you make, your posture, your tone of voice, how much eye contact you make—send strong messages.

In fact, it’s not the words that you use but your nonverbal cues or body language that speak the loudest. They can put people at ease, build trust, and draw others towards you, or they can offend, confuse, and undermine what you’re trying to convey. These messages don’t stop when you stop speaking either. Even when you’re silent, you’re still communicating nonverbally.

In some instances, what comes out of your mouth and what you communicate through your body language may be two totally different things. If you say one thing, but your body language says something else, your listener will likely feel that you’re being dishonest. If you say “yes” while shaking your head no, for example. When faced with such mixed signals, the listener has to choose whether to believe your verbal or nonverbal message. Since body language is a natural, unconscious language that broadcasts your true feelings and intentions, they’ll likely choose the nonverbal message.

However, by improving how you understand and use body language and nonverbal communication, you can express what you really mean, connect better with others, and build stronger, more rewarding relationships—both in your personal and professional relationships.

Your nonverbal communication cues—the way you listen, look, move, and react—tell the person you’re communicating with whether or not you care, if you’re being truthful, and how well you’re listening. When your nonverbal signals match up with the words you’re saying, they increase trust, clarity, and rapport. When they don’t, they can generate tension, mistrust, and confusion.

If you want to become a better communicator, it’s important to become more sensitive not only to the body language and nonverbal cues of others, but also to your own.

Body language can play five roles:

  • Repetition: It repeats and often strengthens the message you’re making verbally.
  • Contradiction: It can contradict the message you’re trying to convey, thus indicating to your listener that you may not be telling the truth.
  • Substitution: It can substitute for a verbal message. For example, your facial expression often conveys a far more vivid message than words ever can.
  • Complementing: It may add to or complement your verbal message. As a boss, if you pat an employee on the back in addition to giving praise, it can increase the impact of your message.
  • Accenting: It may accent or underline a verbal message. Pounding the table, for example, can underline the importance of your message.

The many different types of nonverbal communication or body language include:

Facial expressions. The human face is extremely expressive, able to convey countless emotions without saying a word. And unlike some forms of nonverbal communication, facial expressions are universal. The facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust are the same across cultures.

Body movement and posture. Consider how your perceptions of people are affected by the way they sit, walk, stand, or hold their head. The way you move and carry yourself communicates a wealth of information to the world. This type of nonverbal communication includes your posture, bearing, stance, and the subtle movements you make.

Gestures. Gestures are woven into the fabric of our daily lives. You may wave, point, beckon, or use your hands when arguing or speaking animatedly, often expressing yourself with gestures without thinking. However, the meaning of some gestures can be very different across cultures. While the “OK” sign made with the hand, for example, usually conveys a positive message in English-speaking countries, it’s considered offensive in countries such as Germany, Russia, and Brazil. So, it’s important to be careful of how you use gestures to avoid misinterpretation.

Eye contact. Since the visual sense is dominant for most people, eye contact is an especially important type of nonverbal communication. The way you look at someone can communicate many things, including interest, affection, hostility, or attraction. Eye contact is also important in maintaining the flow of conversation and for gauging the other person’s interest and response.

Touch. We communicate a great deal through touch. Think about the very different messages given by a weak handshake, a warm bear hug, a patronizing pat on the head, or a controlling grip on the arm, for example.

Space. Have you ever felt uncomfortable during a conversation because the other person was standing too close and invading your space? We all have a need for physical space, although that need differs depending on the culture, the situation, and the closeness of the relationship. You can use physical space to communicate many different nonverbal messages, including signals of intimacy and affection, aggression or dominance.

Voice. It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. When you speak, other people “read” your voice in addition to listening to your words. Things they pay attention to include your timing and pace, how loud you speak, your tone and inflection, and sounds that convey understanding, such as “ahh” and “uh-huh.” Think about how your tone of voice can indicate sarcasm, anger, affection, or confidence.

Can nonverbal communication be faked?

There are many books and websites that offer advice on how to use body language to your advantage. For example, they may instruct you on how to sit a certain way, steeple your fingers, or shake hands in order to appear confident or assert dominance. But the truth is that such tricks aren’t likely to work (unless you truly feel confident and in charge). That’s because you can’t control all of the signals you’re constantly sending about what you’re really thinking and feeling. And the harder you try, the more unnatural your signals are likely to come across.

However, that doesn’t mean that you have no control over your nonverbal cues. For example, if you disagree with or dislike what someone’s saying, you may use negative body language to rebuff the person’s message, such as crossing your arms, avoiding eye contact, or tapping your feet. You don’t have to agree, or even like what’s being said, but to communicate effectively and not put the other person on the defensive, you can make a conscious effort to avoid sending negative signals—by maintaining an open stance and truly attempting to understand what they’re saying, and why.

What you communicate through your body language and nonverbal signals affects how others see you, how well they like and respect you, and whether or not they trust you. Unfortunately, many people send confusing or negative nonverbal signals without even knowing it. When this happens, both connection and trust in relationships are damaged, as the following examples highlight:

  • Jack believes he gets along great with his colleagues at work, but if you were to ask any of them, they would say that Jack is “intimidating” and “very intense.” Rather than just look at you, he seems to devour you with his eyes. And if he takes your hand, he lunges to get it and then squeezes so hard it hurts. Jack is a caring guy who secretly wishes he had more friends, but his nonverbal awkwardness keeps people at a distance and limits his ability to advance at work.
  • Arlene is attractive and has no problem meeting eligible men, but she has a difficult time maintaining a relationship for longer than a few months. Arlene is funny and interesting, but even though she constantly laughs and smiles, she radiates tension. Her shoulders and eyebrows are noticeably raised, her voice is shrill, and her body is stiff. Being around Arlene makes many people feel anxious and uncomfortable. Arlene has a lot going for her that is undercut by the discomfort she evokes in others.
  • Ted thought he had found the perfect match when he met Sharon, but Sharon wasn’t so sure. Ted is good looking, hardworking, and a smooth talker, but seemed to care more about his thoughts than Sharon’s. When Sharon had something to say, Ted was always ready with wild eyes and a rebuttal before she could finish her thought. This made Sharon feel ignored, and soon she started dating other men. Ted loses out at work for the same reason. His inability to listen to others makes him unpopular with many of the people he most admires.

These smart, well-intentioned people struggle in their attempt to connect with others. The sad thing is that they are unaware of the nonverbal messages they communicate.

[Read: Tips for Building a Healthy Relationship]

If you want to communicate effectively, avoid misunderstandings, and enjoy solid, trusting relationships both socially and professionally, it’s important to understand how to use and interpret body language and improve your nonverbal communication skills.

Find your space for healing and growth

Regain is an online couples counseling service. Whether you’re facing problems with communication, intimacy, or trust, Regain’s licensed, accredited therapists can help you improve your relationship.

Nonverbal communication is a rapidly flowing back-and-forth process that requires your full focus on the moment-to-moment experience. If you’re planning what you’re going to say next, checking your phone, or thinking about something else, you’re almost certain to miss nonverbal cues and not fully understand the subtleties of what’s being communicated.

As well as being fully present, you can improve how you communicate nonverbally by learning to manage stress and developing your emotional awareness.

Stress compromises your ability to communicate. When you’re stressed out, you’re more likely to misread other people, send confusing or off-putting nonverbal signals, and lapse into unhealthy knee-jerk patterns of behavior. And remember: emotions are contagious. If you are upset, it is very likely to make others upset, thus making a bad situation worse.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress, take a time out. Take a moment to calm down before you jump back into the conversation. Once you’ve regained your emotional equilibrium, you’ll feel better equipped to deal with the situation in a positive way.

The fastest and surest way to calm yourself and manage stress in the moment is to employ your senses—what you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch—or through a soothing movement. By viewing a photo of your child or pet, smelling a favorite scent, listening to a certain piece of music, or squeezing a stress ball, for example, you can quickly relax and refocus. Since everyone responds differently, you may need to experiment to find the sensory experience that works best for you.

In order to send accurate nonverbal cues, you need to be aware of your emotions and how they influence you. You also need to be able to recognize the emotions of others and the true feelings behind the cues they are sending. This is where emotional awareness comes in.

[Read: Improving Emotional Intelligence (EQ)]

Being emotionally aware enables you to:

  • Accurately read other people, including the emotions they’re feeling and the unspoken messages they’re sending.
  • Create trust in relationships by sending nonverbal signals that match up with your words.
  • Respond in ways that show others that you understand and care.

Many of us are disconnected from our emotions—especially strong emotions such as anger, sadness, fear—because we’ve been taught to try to shut off our feelings. But while you can deny or numb your feelings, you can’t eliminate them. They’re still there and they’re still affecting your behavior. By developing your emotional awareness and connecting with even the unpleasant emotions, though, you’ll gain greater control over how you think and act. To start developing your emotional awareness, practice the mindfulness meditation in HelpGuide’s free Emotional Intelligence Toolkit .

Once you’ve developed your abilities to manage stress and recognize emotions, you’ll start to become better at reading the nonverbal signals sent by others. It’s also important to:

Pay attention to inconsistencies. Nonverbal communication should reinforce what is being said. Is the person saying one thing, but their body language conveying something else? For example, are they telling you “yes” while shaking their head no?

Look at nonverbal communication signals as a group. Don’t read too much into a single gesture or nonverbal cue. Consider all of the nonverbal signals you are receiving, from eye contact to tone of voice and body language. Taken together, are their nonverbal cues consistent—or inconsistent—with what their words are saying?

Trust your instincts. Don’t dismiss your gut feelings. If you get the sense that someone isn’t being honest or that something isn’t adding up, you may be picking up on a mismatch between verbal and nonverbal cues.

Evaluating body language and nonverbal signals

Eye contact – Is the person making eye contact? If so, is it overly intense or just right?

Facial expression – What is their face showing? Is it masklike and unexpressive, or emotionally present and filled with interest?

Tone of voice – Does the person’s voice project warmth, confidence, and interest, or is it strained and blocked?

Posture and gesture – Is their body relaxed or stiff and immobile? Are their shoulders tense and raised, or relaxed?

Touch – Is there any physical contact? Is it appropriate to the situation? Does it make you feel uncomfortable?

Intensity – Does the person seem flat, cool, and disinterested, or over-the-top and melodramatic?

Timing and place – Is there an easy flow of information back and forth? Do nonverbal responses come too quickly or too slowly?

Sounds – Do you hear sounds that indicate interest, caring or concern from the person?

More Information

  • Take Control of Your Nonverbal Communication (video) - How to notice and use body language. (Harvard Business Review)
  • Herrando, C., & Constantinides, E. (2021). Emotional Contagion: A Brief Overview and Future Directions. Frontiers in Psychology , 12 , 712606. Link
  • How to Use All 5 Senses to Beat Stress | Psychology Today . (n.d.). Retrieved July 28, 2022, from Link
  • Wertheim, E., 2008.  The Importance of Effective Communication . Retrieved July 28, 2022, from Link
  • Segal, Jeanne. The Language of Emotional Intelligence: The Five Essential Tools for Building Powerful and Effective Relationships (McGraw-Hill, 2008) Link
  • De Stefani, Elisa, and Doriana De Marco. “Language, Gesture, and Emotional Communication: An Embodied View of Social Interaction.” Frontiers in Psychology 10 (September 24, 2019): 2063. Link
  • Nonverbal Communications . (n.d.). Retrieved July 28, 2022, from Link

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Please note you do not have access to teaching notes, tools and techniques to boost the eloquence of your body language in public speaking.

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN : 0019-7858

Article publication date: 6 February 2017

The purpose of this paper is to offer tools and techniques to boost the eloquence of your body language in public speaking.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper explains the importance of body language to influence and inspire others. It offers tools while speaking on microphone. It outlines the importance of body language.

It concludes that if you can invite the attention of your audience members and win their minds and hearts, you can grow as an accomplished orator.

Practical implications

The tools and techniques adopted by speakers can be applied in any industry and in any size of organization.

Social implications

The social implications of this research suggest that speakers and presenters can deliver their presentations successfully by following these dos and don’ts in body language.

Originality/value

It unveils the importance of mirroring your body language in public speaking. It implores to take feedback to improve your public speaking skills. It reminds that presenting a positive body language to your audience members conveys a message that you are strong in your content.

  • Leadership development
  • Body language
  • Communication
  • Mirroring technique
  • Public speaking

Rao, M.S. (2017), "Tools and techniques to boost the eloquence of your body language in public speaking", Industrial and Commercial Training , Vol. 49 No. 2, pp. 75-79. https://doi.org/10.1108/ICT-04-2016-0023

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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The Role Of Body Language In Communication

Body language often plays a significant role in communication and can be as important as the words we say. It can involve eye contact, head movement, posture, gestures, and facial expressions, all of which can add meaning to our verbal communication. Non-human primates also frequently use body language to communicate. Today, body language may not always play a role in communication, as many of our interactions tend to happen online through text only. However, body language will likely continue to be a crucial element of communication as long as people continue to have face-to-face interactions. If you struggle to communicate effectively or have trouble understanding various body language cues, working with a therapist in person or online may be helpful.

What is body language?

  • Facial expressions
  • Head movement
  • Eye contact

These can be universal to all humans, and people may perform them consciously or subconsciously to convey their thoughts and feelings. Experts say body language usually constitutes about half of what we are trying to communicate. 

For example, a person may not always need to verbally say "no" to communicate that something is wrong or that they disagree with what a person is saying. Instead, they can shake their head from side to side to share the same sentiment. Moreover, if a student slouches in their chair in class and doesn’t make eye contact with their teacher, this may signal that they are bored.

Body language can also enhance and complement our verbal communication skills. For instance, if someone in a store is asking for directions on where to find a product, and an employee merely says, "over there," this information may be too vague to be helpful to the customer.

At that point, the employee can be more specific with the location of the item by stating what aisle or department it is in. However, they may also gesture or point in the direction where the product is located. Even if the employee was not very specific and simply said "over there" while pointing, it would likely be more helpful than the original scenario with no body language.

Body language often plays a significant role in everyday interactions, which may be why it tends to be one of the most popular topics in communication studies. It is believed to have been of interest for thousands of years; even the Ancient Greeks interpreted the meanings behind human physical behavior. 

Body language as a form of unconscious communication

The previous section discussed a couple of examples that show how movement can be used to enhance speech. However, body language psychology may also consider unconscious communication. Although these physical cues might be unintentional, they can still be interpreted by others.

Consider law enforcement as an example. A forensic psychologist or someone working with intelligence may be  trained to notice brief micro-expressions , or quick, unconscious expressions of emotion that can appear on a person’s face.

People in charge of investigations may be interested in these nonverbal cues because they can indicate whether a person is lying or trying to conceal something from the interrogator. These cues can happen in a split second, but if an observer slows or freezes a video, they might witness an apparent expression change at that moment.

Some other everyday situations where unconscious body language can occur may be during periods of nervousness or attraction. Specific expressions can vary from person to person. For example, someone might cough when placed in a scenario that makes them nervous, whereas another might touch their face or scratch themselves as though they have an itch.

People may be unaware of their body language in these situations because these cues tend to be performed subconsciously. However, they can be observable to others, and people might notice patterns over time. This may be especially true for people who interact with each other regularly, such as parents and their children, for example. 

Since people close to one another usually know each other's baseline or default personality, they can spot when something is off by noticing changes in body language. For instance, if a child lies to their mother about where they are going, they might exhibit distinct body cues that are out of the ordinary, such as avoiding eye contact or speaking more rapidly.

Evolution and the origins of body language

By researching non-human primates, we may better understand how we used body language early in our evolution as a species. The use of body language generally predates any spoken or written language that humans have created. Since they do not have the same vocal anatomy and brain size as humans do to produce speech, non-human primates frequently use body language to communicate with each other.

It is also generally believed that genetic differences may be similarly responsible for why we can speak, while our closest ancestors, chimpanzees and bonobos, cannot. A variation of the FOXP2 gene is suggested to be why this is the case, and humans may have a unique mutation. This mutation had likely occurred within the last four to six million years because that is when the last common ancestor to the Homo and Pan species lived. The mutation is believed to have stuck around, rather than gradually being bred out, because increased communication abilities likely enhanced our chance of survival.

Although they may not speak as we can, non-human primates can provide insight into why body language developed in the first place. We can observe them and see how they use nonverbal communication with one another to fulfill their need to communicate.

Gestures have often been noted in monkeys and great apes to produce different signals, some of which humans also use. For example, a hard touch or brush of the hand can tell another individual to stop, whereas a soft one or a light pull can be more inviting. Some species, such as orangutans, also embrace one another.

Others have unique forms of body language to communicate. Male gorillas may attempt to show dominance by standing on two legs and beating their chests. Despite being exclusive to gorillas, humans also typically have ways to assert power and strength nonverbally, such as standing with our feet at a wider stance than usual. Some primates, such as chimpanzees and bonobos, may pout; however, instead of signaling sadness or disappointment, pouting usually means wanting something related to food or grooming. 

In primates, gestures are often accompanied by facial expressions and eye contact. Baring teeth can be a universal sign of aggression among non-human primates. On the other hand, lip-smacking can be a friendly facial signal and may be a form of submission in some situations.

As our brains have grown and our facial structure has changed over time, humans have generally been able to utilize other types of body language in communication. While we may not show our teeth to express aggression, we frequently have other ways to convey the same message, such as scowling, glaring, or using unique gestures like the "middle finger"(which can tie in with language and culture).

The importance of body language in modern society

In today's digital age, many people rely on social media and text messaging to communicate with each other. Although virtual interaction may allow people to talk at their leisure and can minimize social pressure and anxiety for some, certain things can be lost in translation, so to speak. 

By being unable to see or hear the other person as you speak with them, you might miss critical nonverbal cues, as well as verbal ones, like vocal inflection. Online communication is generally becoming the primary modality for millions of people, and body language may continue to evolve to accommodate this shift.

Still, body language has likely been around for millions of years, and despite it being absent from certain situations, it can still be relevant. It may continue for the foreseeable future as long as people continue interacting face-to-face. Research has shown that body language can be vital for human cognitive functioning because it can enhance information transfer and lexical retrieval. 

For some, nonverbal communication may not come easily, and this difficulty may be exacerbated by the frequent use of technology, which may not allow for as many opportunities to learn and practice. If you struggle with communication, whether verbal or nonverbal, therapy can be helpful.

Benefits of online therapy

Online therapy can be convenient if you struggle with communicating or need extra help and support with mental health-related concerns. You generally won't need to leave your house to work with a licensed therapist suited to your needs, and if you're worried about the ability to pick up on nonverbal cues like body language, video-chatting with your therapist may be an option, in addition to phone call or online chat sessions.

Effectiveness of online therapy

A common reason for communication struggles can be social anxiety disorder. If you experience symptoms of social anxiety, it can be challenging to fully engage in conversation and pick up on body language cues. A 2022 study indicated that online therapy could be effective in treating social anxiety disorder . However, if communication difficulties stem from another cause, it may be helpful to know that online therapy is generally as effective as in-person therapy for a variety of mental health-related concerns, according to a growing body of evidence. 

Please continue reading for reviews of some of our therapists from people experiencing similar challenges.

Therapist reviews

"I have been working with Heather for several months. She handles difficult conversations delicately but says what needs to be said. She is timely and thinks through her responses when we communicate via text. Occasionally, when I have a difficult question with multiple parts, she acknowledges that she saw my message and assures me she wants some time to be sure she gives me a thoughtful response and not just type back to be speedy and off-the-cuff. These responses are always well-phrased and include examples she knows I can relate to. Her follow-up of these difficult questions during our phone sessions is consistent, and she checks if anything needs clarification."

importance of body language in public speaking essay

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importance of body language in public speaking essay

What is the 7 %- 38 %- 55 rule?

Generally speaking, body language plays a large role in our ability to communicate as humans. Understanding how to read body language can give someone a deeper connection and understanding of what is truly being said and felt by someone else. 

The 7%-38%-55% rule suggests that a mere 7% of communication is done verbally. It then hypothesizes that 38% of communication comes across in our tone and voice inflection, leaving 55% of the communication to come from someone’s body movement and language. 

Whether these exact percentages are true or not, it does show us just how much of a role body language, hand gestures, and facial expressions play in communication — possibly showing our unspoken emotions. 

How much does body language contribute to communication?

Our body movements and hand gestures can convey emotions that we may not even be consciously aware of. Even if we only use subtle movements, someone who is using active listening skills can understand these additions to our verbal message. Seeking out body language tips, as well as signs of positive body language and negative body language can help us to use these skills more effectively socially. 

What are the 4 types of body language?

Generally speaking, people recognize four main types of body language. These can include soft and fluid, precise and bold, dynamic and determined, and light and bouncy movements. Each of these types can convey understanding and support our speech in a visual sense. 

What are the 3 V's of communication?

Many recognize that the three V’s of communication include visual, vocal, and verbal communication methods; which can be shown by positive body language, vocal inflection, and other ways. For example: Maintaining open posture and open body language as you welcome a new friend to a group can send the message that you’re genuinely a warm, safe person to be around. Alternatively, maintaining an open posture and maintaining eye contact can be a way to generate tension if you’re angry, signaling that you’re ready for conflict. 

What is the most effective body language used in speaking to someone face-to-face?

Many sources find that the most effective body language type for face-to-face communication is simply the management of your facial expression. A nice smile can be a great way to facilitate connection and conversation, for example. 

What are some examples of bad body language?

“Bad body language” is entirely subjective, and can be formed by a person’s unique experiences. However, common examples of body language that people may perceive negatively can include: 

  • Shifting one’s weight from side to side 
  • Tensing your cheek muscles 
  • A Body Language Guide: 15 Common Nonverbal Cues Medically reviewed by April Justice , LICSW
  • How To Figure Out If A Guy Likes You Medically reviewed by Karen Foster , LPC
  • Body Language
  • Relationships and Relations

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13.2 Using Language Effectively

Learning objectives.

  • Explain what it means to use appropriate language.
  • Explain what is meant by vivid language.
  • Define inclusive language and explain why using it is important for public speakers.
  • Explain the importance of using familiar language in public speaking.

A man yelling into a megaphone

Kimba Howard – megaphone – CC BY 2.0.

When considering how to use language effectively in your speech, consider the degree to which the language is appropriate, vivid, inclusive, and familiar. The next sections define each of these aspects of language and discuss why each is important in public speaking.

Use Appropriate Language

As with anything in life, there are positive and negative ways of using language. One of the first concepts a speaker needs to think about when looking at language use is appropriateness. By appropriate, we mean whether the language is suitable or fitting for ourselves, as the speaker; our audience; the speaking context; and the speech itself.

Appropriate for the Speaker

One of the first questions to ask yourself is whether the language you plan on using in a speech fits with your own speaking pattern. Not all language choices are appropriate for all speakers. The language you select should be suitable for you, not someone else. If you’re a first-year college student, there’s no need to force yourself to sound like an astrophysicist even if you are giving a speech on new planets. One of the biggest mistakes novice speakers make is thinking that they have to use million-dollar words because it makes them sound smarter. Actually, million-dollar words don’t tend to function well in oral communication to begin with, so using them will probably make you uncomfortable as a speaker. Also, it may be difficult for you or the audience to understand the nuances of meaning when you use such words, so using them can increase the risk of denotative or connotative misunderstandings.

Appropriate for the Audience

The second aspect of appropriateness asks whether the language you are choosing is appropriate for your specific audience. Let’s say that you’re an engineering student. If you’re giving a presentation in an engineering class, you can use language that other engineering students will know. On the other hand, if you use that engineering vocabulary in a public speaking class, many audience members will not understand you. As another example, if you are speaking about the Great Depression to an audience of young adults, you can’t assume they will know the meaning of terms like “New Deal” and “WPA,” which would be familiar to an audience of senior citizens. In other chapters of this book, we have explained the importance of audience analysis; once again, audience analysis is a key factor in choosing the language to use in a speech.

Appropriate for the Context

The next question about appropriateness is whether the language you will use is suitable or fitting for the context itself. The language you may employ if you’re addressing a student assembly in a high school auditorium will differ from the language you would use at a business meeting in a hotel ballroom. If you’re giving a speech at an outdoor rally, you cannot use the same language you would use in a classroom. Recall that the speaking context includes the occasion, the time of day, the mood of the audience, and other factors in addition to the physical location. Take the entire speaking context into consideration when you make the language choices for your speech.

Appropriate for the Topic

The fourth and final question about the appropriateness of language involves whether the language is appropriate for your specific topic. If you are speaking about the early years of The Walt Disney Company, would you want to refer to Walt Disney as a “thaumaturgic” individual (i.e., one who works wonders or miracles)? While the word “thaumaturgic” may be accurate, is it the most appropriate for the topic at hand? As another example, if your speech topic is the dual residence model of string theory, it makes sense to expect that you will use more sophisticated language than if your topic was a basic introduction to the physics of, say, sound or light waves.

Use Vivid Language

After appropriateness, the second main guideline for using language is to use vivid language. Vivid language helps your listeners create strong, distinct, clear, and memorable mental images. Good vivid language usage helps an audience member truly understand and imagine what a speaker is saying. Two common ways to make your speaking more vivid are through the use of imagery and rhythm.

Imagery is the use of language to represent objects, actions, or ideas. The goal of imagery is to help an audience member create a mental picture of what a speaker is saying. A speaker who uses imagery successfully will tap into one or more of the audience’s five basic senses (hearing, taste, touch, smell, and sight). Three common tools of imagery are concreteness, simile, and metaphor.

Concreteness

When we use language that is concrete , we attempt to help our audiences see specific realities or actual instances instead of abstract theories and ideas. The goal of concreteness is to help you, as a speaker, show your audience something instead of just telling them. Imagine you’ve decided to give a speech on the importance of freedom. You could easily stand up and talk about the philosophical work of Rudolf Steiner, who divided the ideas of freedom into freedom of thought and freedom of action. If you’re like us, even reading that sentence can make you want to go to sleep. Instead of defining what those terms mean and discussing the philosophical merits of Steiner, you could use real examples where people’s freedom to think or freedom to behave has been stifled. For example, you could talk about how Afghani women under Taliban rule have been denied access to education, and how those seeking education have risked public flogging and even execution (Iacopino & Rasekh, 1998). You could further illustrate how Afghani women under the Taliban are forced to adhere to rigid interpretations of Islamic law that functionally limit their behavior. As illustrations of the two freedoms discussed by Steiner, these examples make things more concrete for audience members and thus easier to remember. Ultimately, the goal of concreteness is to show an audience something instead of talking about it abstractly.

The second form of imagery is simile . As you probably learned in English courses, a simile is a figure of speech in which two unlike things are explicitly compared. Both aspects being compared within a simile are able to remain separate within the comparison. The following are some examples:

  • The thunderous applause was like a party among the gods.
  • After the revelation, she was as angry as a raccoon caught in a cage.
  • Love is like a battlefield.

When we look at these two examples, you’ll see that two words have been italicized: “like” and “as.” All similes contain either “like” or “as” within the comparison. Speakers use similes to help an audience understand a specific characteristic being described within the speech. In the first example, we are connecting the type of applause being heard to something supernatural, so we can imagine that the applause was huge and enormous. Now think how you would envision the event if the simile likened the applause to a mime convention—your mental picture changes dramatically, doesn’t it?

To effectively use similes within your speech, first look for instances where you may already be finding yourself using the words “like” or “as”—for example, “his breath smelled like a fishing boat on a hot summer day.” Second, when you find situations where you are comparing two things using “like” or “as,” examine what it is that you are actually comparing. For example, maybe you’re comparing someone’s breath to the odor of a fishing vessel. Lastly, once you see what two ideas you are comparing, check the mental picture for yourself. Are you getting the kind of mental image you desire? Is the image too strong? Is the image too weak? You can always alter the image to make it stronger or weaker depending on what your aim is.

The other commonly used form of imagery is the metaphor , or a figure of speech where a term or phrase is applied to something in a nonliteral way to suggest a resemblance. In the case of a metaphor, one of the comparison items is said to be the other (even though this is realistically not possible). Let’s look at a few examples:

  • Love is a battlefield .
  • Upon hearing the charges, the accused clammed up and refused to speak without a lawyer.
  • Every year a new crop of activists are born .

In these examples, the comparison word has been italicized. Let’s think through each of these examples. In the first one, the comparison is the same as one of our simile examples except that the word “like” is omitted—instead of being like a battlefield, the metaphor states that love is a battlefield, and it is understood that the speaker does not mean the comparison literally. In the second example, the accused “clams up,” which means that the accused refused to talk in the same way a clam’s shell is closed. In the third example, we refer to activists as “crops” that arise anew with each growing season, and we use “born” figuratively to indicate that they come into being—even though it is understood that they are not newborn infants at the time when they become activists.

To use a metaphor effectively, first determine what you are trying to describe. For example, maybe you are talking about a college catalog that offers a wide variety of courses. Second, identify what it is that you want to say about the object you are trying to describe. Depending on whether you want your audience to think of the catalog as good or bad, you’ll use different words to describe it. Lastly, identify the other object you want to compare the first one to, which should mirror the intentions in the second step. Let’s look at two possible metaphors:

  • Students groped their way through the maze of courses in the catalog.
  • Students feasted on the abundance of courses in the catalog.

While both of these examples evoke comparisons with the course catalog, the first example is clearly more negative and the second is more positive.

One mistake people often make in using metaphors is to make two incompatible comparisons in the same sentence or line of thought. Here is an example:

  • “That’s awfully thin gruel for the right wing to hang their hats on” (Nordquist, 2009).

This is known as a mixed metaphor, and it often has an incongruous or even hilarious effect. Unless you are aiming to entertain your audience with fractured use of language, be careful to avoid mixed metaphors.

Our second guideline for effective language in a speech is to use rhythm. When most people think of rhythm, they immediately think about music. What they may not realize is that language is inherently musical; at least it can be. Rhythm refers to the patterned, recurring variance of elements of sound or speech. Whether someone is striking a drum with a stick or standing in front of a group speaking, rhythm is an important aspect of human communication. Think about your favorite public speaker. If you analyze his or her speaking pattern, you’ll notice that there is a certain cadence to the speech. While much of this cadence is a result of the nonverbal components of speaking, some of the cadence comes from the language that is chosen as well. Let’s examine four types of rhythmic language: parallelism, repetition, alliteration, and assonance.

Parallelism

When listing items in a sequence, audiences will respond more strongly when those ideas are presented in a grammatically parallel fashion, which is referred to as parallelism . For example, look at the following two examples and determine which one sounds better to you:

  • “Give me liberty or I’d rather die.”
  • “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Technically, you’re saying the same thing in both, but the second one has better rhythm, and this rhythm comes from the parallel construction of “give me.” The lack of parallelism in the first example makes the sentence sound disjointed and ineffective.

As we mentioned earlier in this chapter, one of the major differences between oral and written language is the use of repetition . Because speeches are communicated orally, audience members need to hear the core of the message repeated consistently. Repetition as a linguistic device is designed to help audiences become familiar with a short piece of the speech as they hear it over and over again. By repeating a phrase during a speech, you create a specific rhythm. Probably the most famous and memorable use of repetition within a speech is Martin Luther King Jr.’s use of “I have a dream” in his speech at the Lincoln Memorial on August 1963 during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. In that speech, Martin Luther King Jr. repeated the phrase “I have a dream” eight times to great effect.

Alliteration

Another type of rhythmic language is alliteration , or repeating two or more words in a series that begin with the same consonant. In the Harry Potter novel series, the author uses alliteration to name the four wizards who founded Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin. There are two basic types of alliteration: immediate juxtaposition and nonimmediate juxtaposition. Immediate juxtaposition occurs when the consonants clearly follow one after the other—as we see in the Harry Potter example. Nonimmediate juxtaposition occurs when the consonants are repeated in nonadjacent words (e.g., “It is the p oison that we must p urge from our p olitics, the wall that we must tear down before the hour grows too late”) (Obama, 2008). Sometimes you can actually use examples of both immediate and nonimmediate juxtaposition within a single speech. The following example is from Bill Clinton’s acceptance speech at the 1992 Democratic National Convention: “Somewhere at this very moment, a child is b eing b orn in America. Let it be our cause to give that child a h appy h ome, a h ealthy family, and a h opeful future” (Clinton, 2005).

Assonance is similar to alliteration, but instead of relying on consonants, assonance gets its rhythm from repeating the same vowel sounds with different consonants in the stressed syllables. The phrase “how now brown cow,” which elocution students traditionally used to learn to pronounce rounded vowel sounds, is an example of assonance. While rhymes like “free as a breeze,” “mad as a hatter,” and “no pain, no gain” are examples of assonance, speakers should be wary of relying on assonance because when it is overused it can quickly turn into bad poetry.

Use Inclusive Language

Language can either inspire your listeners or turn them off very quickly. One of the fastest ways to alienate an audience is through the use of noninclusive language. Inclusive language is language that avoids placing any one group of people above or below other groups while speaking. Let’s look at some common problem areas related to language about gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disabilities.

Gender-Specific Language

The first common form of noninclusive language is language that privileges one of the sexes over the other. There are three common problem areas that speakers run into while speaking: using “he” as generic, using “man” to mean all humans, and gender typing jobs.

Generic “He”

The generic “he” happens when a speaker labels all people within a group as “he” when in reality there is a mixed sex group involved. Consider the statement, “Every morning when an officer of the law puts on his badge, he risks his life to serve and protect his fellow citizens.” In this case, we have a police officer that is labeled as male four different times in one sentence. Obviously, both male and female police officers risk their lives when they put on their badges. A better way to word the sentence would be, “Every morning when officers of the law put on their badges, they risk their lives to serve and protect their fellow citizens.” Notice that in the better sentence, we made the subject plural (“officers”) and used neutral pronouns (“they” and “their”) to avoid the generic “he.”

Use of “Man”

Traditionally, speakers of English have used terms like “man,” “mankind,” and (in casual contexts) “guys” when referring to both females and males. In the second half of the twentieth century, as society became more aware of gender bias in language, organizations like the National Council of Teachers of English developed guidelines for nonsexist language (National Council of Teachers of English, 2002). For example, instead of using the word “man,” you could refer to the “human race.” Instead of saying, “hey, guys,” you could say, “OK, everyone.” By using gender-fair language you will be able to convey your meaning just as well, and you won’t risk alienating half of your audience.

Gender-Typed Jobs

The last common area where speakers get into trouble with gender and language has to do with job titles. It is not unusual for people to assume, for example, that doctors are male and nurses are female. As a result, they may say “she is a woman doctor” or “he is a male nurse” when mentioning someone’s occupation, perhaps not realizing that the statements “she is a doctor” and “he is a nurse” already inform the listener as to the sex of the person holding that job. Speakers sometimes also use a gender-specific pronoun to refer to an occupation that has both males and females. Table 13.1 “Gender Type Jobs” lists some common gender-specific jobs titles along with more inclusive versions of those job titles.

Table 13.1 Gender Type Jobs

Ethnic Identity

Another type of inclusive language relates to the categories used to highlight an individual’s ethnic identity. Ethnic identity refers to a group an individual identifies with based on a common culture. For example, within the United States we have numerous ethnic groups, including Italian Americans, Irish Americans, Japanese Americans, Vietnamese Americans, Cuban Americans, and Mexican Americans. As with the earlier example of “male nurse,” avoid statements such as “The committee is made up of four women and a Vietnamese man.” Instead, say, “The committee is made up of four women and a man” or, if race and ethnicity are central to the discussion, “The committee is made up of three European American women, an Israeli American woman, a Brazilian American woman, and a Vietnamese American man.” In recent years, there has been a trend toward steering inclusive language away from broad terms like “Asians” and “Hispanics” because these terms are not considered precise labels for the groups they actually represent. If you want to be safe, the best thing you can do is ask a couple of people who belong to an ethnic group how they prefer to label themselves.

Sexual Orientation

Another area that can cause some problems is referred to as heterosexism. Heterosexism occurs when a speaker presumes that everyone in an audience is heterosexual or that opposite-sex relationships are the only norm. For example, a speaker might begin a speech by saying, “I am going to talk about the legal obligations you will have with your future husband or wife.” While this speech starts with the notion that everyone plans on getting married, which isn’t the case, it also assumes that everyone will label their significant others as either “husbands” or “wives.” Although some members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender/transexual community will use these terms, others prefer for more gender neutral terms like “spouse” and “partner.” Moreover, legal obligations for same-sex couples may be very different from those for heterosexual couples. Notice also that we have used the phrase “members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender/transexual community” instead of the more clinical-sounding term “homosexual.”

The last category of exclusive versus inclusive language that causes problems for some speakers relates to individuals with physical or mental disabilities. Table 13.2 “Inclusive Language for Disabilities” provides some other examples of exclusive versus inclusive language.

Table 13.2 Inclusive Language for Disabilities

Use Familiar Language

The last category related to using language appropriately simply asks you to use language that is familiar both to yourself and to your audience. If you are not comfortable with the language you are using, then you are going to be more nervous speaking, which will definitely have an impact on how your audience receives your speech. You may have a hard time speaking genuinely and sincerely if you use unfamiliar language, and this can impair your credibility. Furthermore, you want to make sure that the language you are using is familiar to your audience. If your audience cannot understand what you are saying, you will not have an effective speech.

Key Takeaways

  • Using appropriate language means that a speaker’s language is suitable or fitting for themselves, as the speaker; our audience; the speaking context; and the speech itself.
  • Vivid language helps listeners create mental images. It involves both imagery (e.g., concreteness, simile, and metaphor) and rhythm (e.g., parallelism, repetition, alliteration, and assonance).
  • Inclusive language avoids placing any one group of people above or below other groups while speaking. As such, speakers need to think about how they refer to various groups within society.
  • Using familiar language is important for a speaker because familiar language will make a speaker more comfortable, which will improve audience perceptions of the speech.
  • Watch the news and find an example of someone using inappropriate language. Why did the speaker use inappropriate language? How could the speaker have prevented the use of inappropriate language?
  • Watch a presidential press conference or a political speech. Identify the uses of imagery and rhythm. How did the imagery and rhythm help the speech? Can you think of other ways the speaker could have used imagery and rhythm?
  • Why is inclusive language important? Write down the various groups you belong to in life; how would you want these groups to be referred to by a speaker? Share your list with a friend or classmate and see if that person reaches the same conclusions you do. If there are differences in your perceptions, why do you think those differences are present?

Clinton, W. J. (2005). My life . New York, NY: Vintage Books, p. 421.

Iacopino, V., & Rasekh, Z. (1998). The Taliban’s war on women: A health and human rights crisis in Afghanistan . Boston, MA: Physicians for Human Rights.

National Council of Teachers of English (2002). Guidelines for gender-fair use of language . Retrieved from http://www.ncte.org/positions/statements/genderfairuseoflang .

Nordquist, R. (2009). Mixed metaphor . Retrieved from About.com at http://grammar.about.com/od/mo/g/mixmetterm.htm

Obama, B. (2008, January 20). The great need of the hour. Remarks delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta. Retrieved from http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/01/the_great_need_of_the_hour.html

Stand up, Speak out Copyright © 2016 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Social Sci LibreTexts

10.4: The Importance of Ethical and Accurate Language

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  • Page ID 9018

  • E. Michele Ramsey@Penn State-Berks
  • Millersville University via Public Speaking Project

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language and ethics

As was noted at the beginning of this chapter, language is culturally transmitted—we learn our language from those around us. For most of us this means that we may first learn language from our parents, but as we grow older, other family members, friends, educators and even the media impact our vocabularies and our choices regarding what language we use. Think about a world without language. Quite simply, we’d have no way of participating in our world without it. People constantly produce language to categorize and organize the world.

Think back to our discussion of how language influences your social reality. In my work as a mentor, I tutored a girl in elementary school who had a very difficult time saying the word “lake.” I used the word “lake” as part of a homework exercise. What I had not realized was that she had never seen a lake, either in person or in a picture, or, if she had seen a lake no one had pointed to that body of water and called it a “lake.” The concept of a “lake” was simply not in her reality. No “lakes” existed in her world. This is a key example of how the language that we learn and that we choose to use says something about our social reality.

Consider the above example another way. Let’s say that my young friend had seen a lake and knew how to say the word and what the word referred to, but that she had only been privy to people who used the word negatively. If throughout her life “lakes” were discussed as “bad things” to be avoided, she would have a very different perspective on lakes than most people. Switching this example around a little helps illustrate the fact that language is not neutral. Language carries ideas, and while there is often more than one choice in terms of which word to use, often the words from which you are choosing are not equal in terms of the reality that they communicate.

Think about the difference between calling a specific place “the projects” versus calling that same place “public housing.” Both phrases refer to a particular geographical space, but calling a neighborhood “the projects” as opposed to “public housing” communicates something very different, and more negative, about this neighborhood. Often students use the words that they hear more commonly used, so referring to “the projects” as opposed to “public housing” usually indicates that they have not thought enough about their word choices or thought about the impact of those choices.

By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth. ~ George Carlin

As this example points out, we have a variety of words from which to choose when constructing a message. Successful speakers recognize that in addition to choosing words that help with clarity and vividness, it is important to think about the connotations associated with one word or the other. When speakers are not careful in terms of word choice in this sense, it is possible to lose credibility with the audience and to create the perception that you are someone that perhaps you are not. If you use “the projects” instead of “public housing,” audience members may view you as someone who has negative perceptions of people who live in public housing when you do not feel that way at all. Clearly, not being careful about language choices can be a costly mistake.

But what do these examples have to do with ethics? For our purposes here, there are two ways to think about communication and ethics. First, ethical communication is that which does not unfairly label one thing or another based on personal bias. So, in addition to choosing “public housing” over “the projects,” an ethical speaker will choose terms that steer clear from intentional bias. For example, pro-life

speakers would refrain from calling “pro-choice” people “pro-abortion” since the basic principle of the “pro- choice” position is that it is up to the person, not society, to choose whether or not an abortion is acceptable. That is a very different position than being “pro-abortion.” Indeed, many pro- choice citizens would not choose abortion if faced with an unplanned pregnancy; therefore calling them “pro- abortion” does not reflect the reality of the situation; rather, it is the purposeful and unethical use of one term over the other for emotional impact. Similarly, if a pro-choice person is addressing a crowd where religious organizations are protesting against the legality of abortion, it would not be ethical for the pro-choice speaker to refer to the “anti- abortion” protestors as “religious fanatics.” Simply because someone is protesting abortion on religious grounds does not make that person a “religious fanatic,” and as in the first example, choosing the latter phrase is another purposeful and unethical use of one term over another for emotional impact.

Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides. ~ Rita Mae Brown

A second way to link communication and ethics is to remember that ethical speakers attempt to communicate reality to the best of their ability. Granted, as was noted above, each person’s social reality is different, depending on background, influences, and cultural institutions, for example. But regardless of whether you think that a “lake” is a good or bad thing, lakes still exist in reality. Regardless of whether or not you think rocks are useful or not, rocks still exist. So ethical communication also means trying to define or explain your subject in terms that are as closely tied to an objective reality as is possible—it is your best attempt to communicate accurately about your topic. Sexist and heterosexist language are two types of language to be avoided by ethical speakers because each type of language does communicate inaccuracies to the audience.

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sexist and heterosexist language

One of the primary means by which speakers regularly communicate inaccurate information is through the use of sexist language. In spite of the fact that the Modern Language Association deemed sexist language as grammatically incorrect back in the 1970s, many people and institutions (including most colleges and universities) still regularly use sexist language in their communication.

An argument I regularly hear from students is that language has “always been sexist.” This is, in fact, not true. As Dale Spender notes in her book,Man Made Language, until 1746 when John Kirkby formulated his “Eighty Eight Grammatical Rules,” the words “they” and “their” were used in sentences for sex-indeterminable sentences (Spender, 1990, pp. 148- 149.) Kirkby’s rule number twenty-one stated that the male sex was more comprehensive than the female and thus argued that “he” was the grammatically correct way to note menand women in writing where mixed sexed or sex-indeterminable situations are referred to (Spender, 1990, pp. 148- 149). Women were not given equal access to education at this time and thus the male grammarians who filled the halls of the academy and had no incentive to disagree with Mr. Kirkby, accepted his eighty-eight rules in full.

Interestingly though, the general population was not as easily convinced. Perhaps because they were not used to identifying women as men in language or perhaps because it did not make rational sense to do so, the general public ignored rule number twenty-one.

Incensed by the continued misuse of “they,” male grammarians were influential in the passing of the 1850 Act of Parliament which legally asserted that “he” stood for “she” (Spender, 1990, p. 150), Yes, you read correctly. Parliament passed legislation in an effort to promote the use of sexist language. And it worked! Eventually the rule was adhered to by the public and thus we have the regular and rarely challenged use of sexist language. But this use of language was not “natural” or even “normal” for many millennia.

Pretending that we haven’t learned about the work of Dale Spender, let’s assume that language has “always been sexist.” Even if language was always sexist, that does not make the use of sexist language right. We wouldn’t make a similar argument about racist language, so that argument isn’t any stronger with regard to language that is sexist. It simply isn’t acceptable today to use sexist language; and by learning to avoid these common mistakes, you can avoid using language that is grammatically incorrect, unethical, and problematic. See Table 10.1 for examples of sexist and non-sexist language.

Is your remarkably sexist drivel intentional, or just some horrible mistake? ~ Yeardley Smith

First, you should avoid the use of what is called the generic “he” or “man,” which is the use of terms such as “mankind” instead of “humankind” or “humanity,” or the use of “man” or “he” to refer to all people. A common response from students with regard to the use of “generic he” is that the word is intended to represent men and women, therefore when it’s used it is not used to be sexist. If it were really the case that people truly recognized in their minds that the term “man” includes women, then we would talk about situations in which “man has difficulty giving birth” (Spender, 1990, p. 156) or the “impact of menstruation on man’s biology.” Of course, we do

not say those things because they simply wouldn’t make sense to us. Perhaps you can now see why the people of the 1700s and 1800s had trouble switching from non-sexist to sexist language—it defied their own common sense just as discussing how “man gets pregnant” defies yours.

Second, you should avoid using man-linked terms , which are terms such as “fireman” or “policemen.” It is appropriate to use these terms when you know that the people you are speaking about are men only, but if you do not know for sure or if you’re talking about groups generally, you should avoid using these types of terms and replace them with “firefighters” and “police officers.” Colleges and universities should replace “freshman” with “first-year students” and so should you. Other, non job-oriented words also suffer from this same problem. People often note that tables need to be “manned” rather than “staffed” and that items are “man-made” instead of “human made” or “handmade.”

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A final common use of sexist language occurs when people use spotlighting when discussing the occupations of men and women. How often have you heard (or used) a phrase such as “he’s a male nurse” or “that female lawyer?” When we spotlight in these ways, we are pointing out that a person is deviating from the “norm” and implying that someone’s sex is relevant to a particular job. According to Peccei, in the English language there is a very strong tendency to “place the adjective expressing the most ‘defining’ characteristic closest to the noun” (Peccei, 2003, p. 118). Thus, as Turner points out, a phrase like the “old intelligent woman” violates our sense of “correct,” not because there’s anything wrong with the word order grammatically, but because it contradicts our customary way of thinking that values youth over age (Peccei, 2003, p. 118). If you talk about a “male nurse” or a “female cop,” you risk communicating to the audience that you believe the most salient aspect of a particular job is the sex of the person that normally does it, and some audience members may not appreciate that assumption on your part.

The use of sexist language is not just grammatically incorrect; its use is also linked to ethics because it communicates a reality that does not exist—it is not accurate. Man-linked language communicates male superiority and that there are more men than women because women are regularly erased linguistically in speech and writing. Man-linked terms and spotlighting communicate that some job activities are appropriate for men but not women and vice versa by putting focus on the sex of a person as linked to their job or activity. Finally, the use of the generic “he” or “man” communicates that men are the norm and women deviate from that norm. If all humans are called “man,” what does that say about women? Sexist language can also limit what young males and females believe that they can accomplish in their lives. Ethical speakers should therefore avoid using language that communicates these sexist practices.

Speakers who choose to continue to use sexist language are not only speaking in a manner that is grammatically incorrect, they are also risking communicating negative ideas about themselves to audience members. Often the use of sexist language is because of a careless error, so be careful about language choice so that you don’t accidentally communicate something about yourself that you didn’t intend or that isn’t true. Remember that if one person in your audience is offended by some aspect of your language use, they may share their opinions with others in the room. If that one person is a leader of the larger group or is someone whose opinions people care about, offending that one audience member may cause you to “lose” many other audience members as well.

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Heterosexist language is language that assumes the heterosexual orientation of a person or group of people. Be careful when speaking not to use words or phrases that assume the sexual orientation of your audience members. Do not make the mistake of pointing to someone in your audience as an example and discussing that person with the assumption that she is heterosexual by saying something like, “Let’s say this woman here is having trouble with her husband.” When thinking of examples to use, consider using names that could ring true for heterosexuals and homosexuals alike. Instead of talking about Pat and Martha, discuss an issue involving Pat and Chris. Not only will you avoid language that assumes everyone’s partner is of the opposite sex, you will also better your chances of persuading using your example. If the use of sex- specific names doesn’t ring true with members of your audience that are homosexual, it is possible that they are not as likely to continue to listen to your example with the same level of interest. They are more likely to follow your example if they aren’t confronted immediately with names that assume a heterosexual relationship. There are, of course, ethical considerations as well. Because it is likely that your entire audience is not heterosexual (and certainly they do not all hold heterosexist attitudes), using heterosexist language is another way that speakers may alienate audience members. In reality the world is not completely heterosexual and even in the unlikely case that you’re speaking in a room of consisting completely of heterosexuals, many people have friends or relatives that are homosexual, so the use of heterosexist language to construct the world as if this were not the case runs counter to ethical communication.

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Essay on Importance Of Body Language

Students are often asked to write an essay on Importance Of Body Language in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on Importance Of Body Language

Understanding body language.

Body language is the way we move, stand, and look, which tells others what we feel without talking. It’s like a secret code that can show happiness, anger, or worry. When we meet someone, their body language gives us clues about how they feel about us.

Body Language in Communication

When we talk, our words are important, but our body language is too. If our words and body language match, our message is strong. If they don’t match, people might get confused about what we really mean.

Body Language in Making Friends

Body language helps in making friends. A smile or open arms can make others feel welcome. When we show we are listening by nodding, people like talking to us more.

Body Language in Learning

In school, body language is key. Teachers can tell if we understand by our faces. When we look interested, it shows we are ready to learn. This way, teachers can help us better.

250 Words Essay on Importance Of Body Language

What is body language.

Body language is a way people show their feelings without talking. It includes facial expressions, hand movements, and posture. This silent form of communication is very powerful and often tells more about a person’s feelings than words do.

Sharing Feelings Without Words

Imagine you are at a new school and you see a student with a big smile. You know they are happy and friendly, even if they don’t say hello. This is because their smile is a part of body language. It is a silent signal that can share feelings clearly and quickly.

Helps in Understanding Others

Body language is important because it helps us understand how others feel. For example, if your friend has their arms crossed and is looking away, they might be upset or not interested in talking. By noticing these signs, you can know if it’s a good time to talk or better to wait.

Important in Making Friends

When you meet someone new, how you stand and look at them can make a big difference. Standing tall with a friendly face can make others feel comfortable. This can help you make friends easily because they see you as kind and open.

In conclusion, body language is a key part of how we communicate. It helps us show our feelings, understand others, and make friends. Paying attention to body language is just as important as the words we use.

500 Words Essay on Importance Of Body Language

Body language is the way we communicate without using words. It’s about how we move our bodies, our faces, and even how close we stand to other people. Imagine you are talking to your friend and they are smiling, nodding, and looking at you. You would feel that they are listening and happy to be with you. That’s body language!

Why Body Language Matters

Body language is important because it shows how someone feels. If someone is crossing their arms and not looking at you when you are talking, they might not be interested or they could be feeling uncomfortable. By looking at their body language, you can understand these feelings even if they don’t tell you with words.

Body Language in Daily Life

Every day, whether you are at school, at home, or playing with friends, you use body language. When you give your friend a thumbs-up, you are telling them “Good job!” without speaking. Teachers use body language too. When they look at the clock and then at the class, they are saying it’s time to stop talking and pay attention, all without saying a word.

Body Language and Making Friends

Making new friends can be easier when you use good body language. Smiling, making eye contact, and having an open posture makes you look friendly and someone others would like to talk to. If you look at the ground and have your arms crossed, people might think you don’t want to make friends, even if you do.

Body Language at School

In school, your body language can help your teacher know if you understand the lesson. If you nod your head and look interested, your teacher will know you are following along. If you look confused, your teacher might explain things again. This helps you learn better.

Understanding Others

Just like you use body language, so does everyone else. If you can understand other people’s body language, you can be a better friend. You can tell if your friend is sad or happy, or if they need help, just by looking at how they act.

Body Language in Different Cultures

Body language can mean different things in different places. For example, a thumbs-up might be good in one country but not nice in another. It’s important to learn about body language from other cultures so you can be respectful and understand people from all over the world.

Body language is a powerful tool. It helps us understand each other without talking. We can show we are happy, sad, interested, or bored, all with our body language. By using good body language, we can make friends, do better in school, and understand how people feel. So, the next time you are with someone, remember, it’s not just the words you say that matter, but also how you say it with your body!

That’s it! I hope the essay helped you.

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Body Language Analysis in Healthcare: An Overview

Rawad abdulghafor.

1 Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Information and Communication Technology, International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur 53100, Malaysia

Sherzod Turaev

2 Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, College of Information Technology, United Arab Emirates University, Al-Ain, Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 15556, United Arab Emirates

Mohammed A. H. Ali

3 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur 50603, Malaysia

Associated Data

Not applicable.

Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, medical research today focuses on epidemic diseases. Innovative technology is incorporated in most medical applications, emphasizing the automatic recognition of physical and emotional states. Most research is concerned with the automatic identification of symptoms displayed by patients through analyzing their body language. The development of technologies for recognizing and interpreting arm and leg gestures, facial features, and body postures is still in its early stage. More extensive research is needed using artificial intelligence (AI) techniques in disease detection. This paper presents a comprehensive survey of the research performed on body language processing. Upon defining and explaining the different types of body language, we justify the use of automatic recognition and its application in healthcare. We briefly describe the automatic recognition framework using AI to recognize various body language elements and discuss automatic gesture recognition approaches that help better identify the external symptoms of epidemic and pandemic diseases. From this study, we found that since there are studies that have proven that the body has a language called body language, it has proven that language can be analyzed and understood by machine learning (ML). Since diseases also show clear and different symptoms in the body, the body language here will be affected and have special features related to a particular disease. From this examination, we discovered that it is possible to specialize the features and language changes of each disease in the body. Hence, ML can understand and detect diseases such as pandemic and epidemic diseases and others.

1. Introduction

Body language constitutes one of the languages of communication. The types of languages are classified into verbal and non-verbal languages. Body language includes non-verbal language, where the movements and behaviors of the body are used instead of words to express and convey information. Body language may involve hand movements, facial expressions and hints, eye movements, tone of voice, body movements and positions, gestures, use of space, and the like. This research will focus on interpretations of the human body language, classified under kinesiology.

Body language is entirely different from sign language, a complete language—like verbal language—with its own basic rules and complex grammar systems [ 1 , 2 ]. On the other hand, body language does not contain grammatical rules and is usually a language belonging to or classified according to cultures [ 3 ]. Interpretations of body language may differ from country to country and from one culture to another. There exists some controversy over whether body language can be regarded as a universal language for all people. Some researchers have concluded that most communication among individuals involves physical symbols or gestures since the interaction of body language here facilitates speedy information transmission and understanding [ 4 ]. According to [ 5 ], body language speaks more and better content than verbal language. When, for example, an individual speaks over the phone to someone about an inquiry, the information becomes mysterious due to the physical language’s restrictions. However, an individual sitting directly in front of an audience has fewer restrictions and does not have an audience. The information with body language is more easily transmitted and received, even more so if the speaker is standing, allowing more freedom of movement. Thus, it follows that body language enhances communication. This work attempts to prove that body language enhances workplace positivity.

Several experiments were performed in [ 6 ] on facial expressions and body movements affected by human emotions. The study has shown that facial expressions and body movements can accurately determine human emotions. It also proved that combining facial features and activities with body movements is essential for analyzing human expressions. Three different stages of experiments were conducted to determine whether it is necessary to combine the two expressions or not. It was confirmed that it is essential to connect them for identification. Reading someone’s eyes should also not be ignored. It is considered an important factor in expressing and understanding human emotions. We are generally able to know what others want from their eye movements. For that, eye language has many effects. According to [ 7 ], the expansion and tightness of the eye size are affected by emotions and allow the observer to convey specific additional information. The human eye blinks, on average, 6 to 10 times per minute. However, when someone is attracted to someone else, the number of blinks is fewer. Study [ 8 ] discovered that human feelings could be identified and defined through body position. For example, when a person feels angry, they will push their body forward to express dominance over the other person, and their upper body is tilted and no longer upright. On the other hand, if someone feels intimidated by the opponent, they signal submission by retreating backward or moving their head back. Additionally, a person’s emotional state can be determined from their sitting position. Someone sitting on a chair with half of their upper body and head slightly tilted forward indicates attentiveness and eagerness to follow what is being said. However, sitting with legs and hands crossed suggests that they do not wish to engage and feel uncomfortable with what is being said or the person saying it [ 5 ].

Body language analysis is also essential to avoid confusion in a single movement’s meanings and purposes that carry more than one meaning. For example, the expressive movement of a person may be due to a physical handicap or a compulsive movement rather than an intentional one. Furthermore, a particular movement in the body of someone may not mean the same to another. For example, a person may rub their eyes due to itchiness and not fatigue. Foreign cultures also need careful analysis due to their social differences. Although most body movements are universal, there are also movements specific to each culture. This may vary from country to country, region to region, and even social group.

Pandemic and epidemic diseases constitute a global risk factor responsible for the death of millions of people worldwide. The ability to detect and treat casualties is limited, primarily due to the lack of human and technical resources. When patients are not physically accessible, remote diagnosis is required. All pandemic and epidemic diseases are characterized by distinct body movements affecting the face, shoulders, chest, and hands. AI technology has shown positive results in some reading of these gestures. Hence, the idea is to use body language to detect epidemic diseases early and provide treatment. It should be noted that the primary and vital catalyst for the proposal of this study is the COVID-19 disease, which is presently terrorizing the whole world. As researchers in information technology and computer science, we must play our part in rapidly detecting this disease.

This paper aims to study the previous literature and identify body language expressions that indicate disease. Body language is defined as certain expressions, movements, and gestures that point to the physical and emotional state of the bearer. Certain parts of the body can express different characteristics or feelings. Some studies have demonstrated the presence of certain emotional conditions as reflected in particular facial expressions (e.g., joy, sadness, surprise, and anger). Regarding the relationship between diseases and body language, it is known that diseases affect the body parts and qualities and are reflected in the movements and expressions of parts of the body. Different diseases affect different body parts and can be measured, identified, and used for diagnosis.

Hence, this paper is proposed to study some diseases that can be diagnosed by identifying and measuring the external movements of the body. In addition, this paper discusses the findings of previous studies to demonstrate the usefulness and contribution of AI in detecting diseases through body language. One of the biggest obstacles to treating COVID-19 patients effectively is speedy diagnosis. However, the large number of cases exceeds the capacity of most hospitals. Hence, AI offers a solution through ML. ML can detect disease symptoms as manifested in the patient’s body language and can be used to generate correct readings and predictions.

Therefore, the main contribution of this paper is to show the potential use of analyzing body language in health care. The importance of body language analysis in health care and patient body language analysis using AI will be discussed in the following sections. The added tables list previous studies that used ML to identify symptoms through body expressions. The findings demonstrate that a patient’s body language can be analyzed using ML for diagnostic purposes.

2. Methodology

The methods used to review in this work are as follows (also see Figure 1 ): first, the importance of body language analysis is highlighted to prove that the body movements can be read and analyzed to produce outcomes that are useful for many applications; second, body language analysis in health care is presented to show the importance of body language in medical diagnosis in research; third, ML is used successfully to identify characteristic symptoms; fourth, Table 1 show studies that used ML as a diagnostic tool and include the used algorithms. Each topic was discussed separately, as detailed in the following sections.

Some Studies of AI Methods for Body Language Elements to Identify the Symptoms.

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The Review Stages.

3. The Importance of Body Language Analysis

AI is one of the most significant technological developments, increasing in popularity and being used in all application areas. One of the most important of these applications is the use of AI in healthcare. Health is the most important human factor for life on this planet. Recently, the use and applications of AI in healthcare have played a significant role in helping doctors discover diseases and improve human health. The use of AI in health depends on the appearance of some symptoms on parts of the body. These symptoms affect and are reflected in the movements and expressions of the body, which are manifested as body language. From this point, these features of body language can be used to classify disease symptoms by detecting them in ML. In this section, we want to explain the importance of using body language by artificial intelligence. There are features that appear in body language that AI can analyze to solve many problems in many applications. For example, facial expressions can be analyzed to know human feelings and benefit from them in psychotherapy or examine subjects’ emotions in the study. Another example is analyzing the movements of the hand, shoulder, or leg, and using them to discover valuable features in medicine, security, etc. From this point, we want to show that body language has many benefits and applications, so this is important. Therefore, we want to suggest that body language can also be used to detect infectious diseases such as COVID-19 using ML.

Now, it is feasible to employ this technology in healthcare systems. Pandemic and epidemic diseases are considered an intractable matter that inferiorly affects human health, regarded as peoples’ most valuable asset. Additionally, the biggest worry is that new pandemics or epidemics will suddenly appear and become deadly, such as COVID-19, which has claimed nearly a million lives so far. This stimulates us to develop AI technologies to help detect the disease’s external symptoms by analyzing the patients’ body language. This work deals with general studies that prove the importance of body language processing in various fields.

Every computer user interacts with the device via mouse and keyboard. Currently, researchers are developing a computer system for interaction and response through body language such as hand gestures and movement. In [ 8 ], a comprehensive survey was completed evaluating the published literature recommending the visual interpretation of hand gestures when interacting with computing devices and introducing more advanced methods to analyze body language rather than mouse and keyboard movements. The study of [ 9 ] considered the problem of robot accuracy recognition. It proposed a fusion system to identify the fall movement types and abnormal directions with an accuracy rate of 99.37%. A facial coding system was developed in [ 10 ] to measure and analyze facial muscle movements and identify facial expressions. A database was created with a series of 1100 images. The system analyzed and classified facial creases and wrinkles to match their movements. The results showed that the performance improved, reaching 92%. Combining facial features and movements with body movements is essential for analyzing individual expressions. Three different experiments were conducted to determine whether facial expressions and body language should be combined and concluded in the affirmative. Another study [ 11 ] focused on deep learning techniques to identify emotions revealed in facial expressions. This research used pure convolutional neural network techniques to prove that deep learning using these neural networks successfully recognizes emotions by developing cognition, significantly improving the usability. A new model was invented in [ 12 ] that detected body gestures and movements with a pair of digital video images, which supplied a set of vector monitors with three dimensions.

The first study showed the relationship between the contraction of the internal muscles of the face and the facial movements as established by Hjortsjo 1970 [ 13 ] to develop a coding system by identifying the minor units of facial muscle movements and then drawing coordinates that defined the facial expressions. The recognition of people’s emotions has merited much attention. However, the issue of detecting facial emotions and expressions of speech, especially among researchers, is still problematic. The work presented in [ 14 ] offered a comprehensive survey to facilitate further research in this field. It focused on identifying gender-specific characteristics, setting an automatic framework to determine the physical manifestation of emotions, and identifying constant and dynamic body shape comments. It also examined recent studies on learning and emotion by identifying gestures through photos or video. Several methods combined speech, body, and facial gestures were also discussed to identify optimized emotions. The study concluded that the knowledge of a person’s feelings through overtones was still incomplete.

4. Body Language Analysis in Healthcare

A coding system was created to classify the facial expressions by analyzing more than 1100 pictures at work [ 10 ]. Three ways to classify facial expressions were compared: a method for analyzing image components in the gray field, measuring wrinkles, and a template for creating facial movements. The accuracy of performance of the coding system for the three roads was 89%, 57%, and 85%, respectively, while when assembling the methods, the performance accuracy reached 92%. Online learning is challenged by knowing students’ participation in learning processes. In work [ 15 ], an algorithm is introduced to learn about student interactions and see their problems. In this algorithm, two methods were used to collect evidence of student participation: the first method involved collecting facial expressions using a camera, and the second involved collecting hand movement data using mouse movements. The data were trained by building two groups; one group collected facial data with mouse data, and the second was without the mouse. It was discovered that the first group’s performance was better than the second group’s by 94.60% compared to 91.51%. Work [ 14 ] commented on recognizing facial and speech gestures that may provide a comprehensive survey of body language. It provided a framework for the automatic identification of dynamic and fixed emotional body gestures that combined facial and speech gestures to improve recognition of a person’s emotions. Paper [ 16 ] defines facial expressions by matching them with body positions. The work demonstrated that the effects and expressions are more evident when the major irritations on the face are similar to those highlighted in the body. However, the model produces different results according to the dependence on the properties, whether physical, dimensional, or latent. Another significant finding in the study is that expressions of fear bloom better when paired with facial expressions than when performing tasks.

In [ 17 ], the authors stated that the medical advisor must exhibit exciting communication qualities that make the patient feel comfortable making a correct decision. They advised doctors to know how to use facial expressions, eyes, hand gestures, and other body expressions. It was mentioned that a smile is the most robust expression that a doctor can use to communicate with their patients, as the doctor’s smile makes the patient feel comfortable. The patient’s sense of comfort makes them appear confident, and they answer the doctor’s questions with clear responses, credibility, and confidence. In addition, communicating with the eyes is very important to help the patient, as the lack of this from the doctor may suggest that the doctor does not care about them. The research in [ 18 ] concludes that the doctor’s appropriate nonverbal communication positively impacts the patient. Objective evidence has shown that the patient improves and recovers better and faster when the doctor uses a smile and direct eye communication with the patient compared to those who do not use a smile and direct eye with the patient. It was also concluded that patients who receive more attention, feeling, sensation, and participation by the doctor respond better to treatment, as the tone of voice, movement of the face and body, and eye gaze affect the patient. Clint [ 19 ] reported his first day on the job in the intensive care unit. He felt fear and anxiety on that day as the unit was comprehensive and informative. Clint was asking himself, “is it worth working in that unit?” He had a patient with her sister next to her. The patient glimpsed Clint’s nervousness and anxiety but did not dare ask him, so she whispered that the nurse was nervous to her sister. Then, her sister asked Clint, “you are worried and anxious today; why?” What is there to be so nervous about? Clint thought to hide his nervousness and anxiety and restore confidence; he smiled and replied, “I am not nervous.” However, sometimes, we have to ask our patients ridiculous questions that make us tense. Here, Clint states that he noticed from the patient’s looks that he could not persuade her to hide his stress. Clint made it clear that patients are affected by their body language and facial expressions. They can know their cases through their body language. From here, Clint realized that he was wrong. As anxiety and stress began on his patient, his condition may increase for that reason.

In one of Henry’s articles [ 20 ], he wrote that treating a patient with behaviors and body language has a more significant impact than using drugs. The work [ 21 ] concluded that non-verbal language between a doctor and their patient plays a vital role in treating the patient. The doctor can use non-verbal signals sent from the patient to collect information about the condition of the disease to help them decide on diagnosis and treatment. The research summarized that the non-verbal technique used by the doctor toward the patient affects them in obtaining information and helping them recover from the disease. For example, eye gaze, closeness to the patient, and facial and hand gestures to appear relaxed. The research suggests that there is a positive effect on the use of non-verbal cues on the patient. It is recommended that doctors be trained in incorporating non-verbal cues as a significant way of dealing with patients to speed up their treatment.

5. Patient’s Body Language Analysis Using AI

Different AI methods and techniques have been used to analyze patients’ body language. We briefly discuss some studies conducted so far in this area. More specifically, focusing on facial recognition, a pimple system was introduced in [ 22 ] to analyze facial muscles and thus identify different emotions. The proposed system automatically tracks faces using video and extracts geometric shapes for facial features. The study was conducted on eight patients with schizophrenia, and the study collected dynamical information on facial muscle movements. This study showed the possibility of identifying engineering measurements for individual faces and determining their exact differences for recognition purposes. Three methods were used in [ 23 ] to measure facial expressions to define emotions and identify persons with mental illness. The study’s proposed facial action coding system enabled the interpretation of emotional facial expressions and thus contributed to the knowledge of therapeutic intervention for patients with mental illnesses.

Many people suffer from an imbalance in the nervous system, which leads to paralysis of the patient’s movement and falls without prior warning. The study [ 24 ] was targeted to improve early warning signs detection and identification rate using a platform (R). Wireless sensor devices were placed on the chest and waist. The collected data were converted to an algorithm for analysis that extracted them and activated if there was a risk. The results showed that the patient at risk engaged in specific typical movements, which indicated an imminent fall. The authors further suggested applying this algorithm to patients with seizures to warn of an imminent attack and alert the emergency services.

In research [ 25 ], a computational framework was designed to monitor the movements of older adults to signal organ failures and other sudden drops in vital body functions. The system monitored the patient’s activity and determined its level using sensors placed on different body parts. The experiments show that this system identifies the correct locations in real-time with an accuracy of 95.8%. Another approach based on data analysis was presented in [ 26 ] for an intelligent home using sensors to monitor its residents’ movements and behaviors. This system helps detect behaviors and forecast diseases or injuries that residents may experience, especially older people. This study is helpful for doctors in providing remote care and monitoring their patients’ progress. The target object capture setup model proposed in [ 27 ] is based on the candidate region–suggestion network to detect the position grab of the manipulator combined with information for color and deep image capture using deep learning. It achieved a 94.3% crawl detection success rate on multiple target detection datasets through merging information for a color image. A paper [ 28 ] under review deals with the elderly and their struggle to continue living independently without relying on the support of others—the research project aimed to compare automated learning algorithms used to monitor their body functions and movements. Among the eight higher education algorithms studied, the support conveyor algorithm achieved the highest accuracy rate of 95%, using reference traits. Some jobs require prolonged sitting, resulting in long-term spinal injury and nervous disease. Some surveys helped design sitting position monitoring systems (SPMS) to assess the position of the seated person using sensors attached to the chair. The drawback of the proposed method was that it required too many sensors. This problem was resolved by [ 29 ], who designed an SPMS system that only needed four such sensors. This improved system defined six different sitting positions through several machine-learning algorithms applied to average body weight measurements. The positions were then analyzed and classified into any approach that would produce the highest level of accuracy, reaching from 97.20% to 97.94%. In most hospitals, medical doctors face anxiety about treating patients with mental illness regarding potential bodily harm, staff risks, and hospital tool damage. The study [ 30 ] devised a method to analyze the patient’s movements and identify the risk of harmful behavior by extracting visual data monitoring the patient’s movements from cameras installed in their rooms. The proposed method traced the movement points, accumulated them, and extracted their properties. The characteristics of the movement points were analyzed according to spacing, position, and speed. The study concluded that the proposed method could be used to explore features and characteristics for other purposes, such as analyzing the quality of the disease and determining its level of progression. In the study [ 31 ], wireless intelligent sensor applications and devices were designed to care for patient health, provide better patient monitoring, and facilitate disease diagnosis. Wireless sensors were installed on the body to periodically monitor the patient’s health, update the information, and send it to the service center. The researchers investigated the multi-level decision system (MDS) to monitor patient behaviors and match them with the stored historical data. This information allowed the decision makers in the medical centers to give treatment recommendations. The proposed system could also record new cases, store new disease data, and reduce the doctors’ effort and time spent examining the patients. The results proved accurate and reliable (MDS) in predicting and monitoring patients.

The study of [ 32 ] proposed the Short Time Fourier Transform application to monitor the patient’s movements and voice through sensors and microphones. The system transmitted sound and accelerometer data, analyzed the data to identify the patient’s conditions, and achieved high accuracy. Three experiments were conducted in reference [ 33 ], which involve the recognition of full-body expressions. The first experiment was about matching body expressions to incorporate all emotions, where fear was the most difficult emotion to express. At the same time, the second experiment focused on facial expressions strongly influenced by physical expression and, as a result, was ambiguous. In the last experiment, attention was given to expressions of the tone of a voice to identify emotional feelings related to the body. Finally, it was concluded that it was essential to pool the results of the three experiments to reveal true body expression.

A valuable study was conducted at the MIT Institute [ 34 ] to develop a system that detects pain in patients by analyzing data on brain activities using a wearable device to scan brain nerves. This was shown to help diagnose and treat patients with loss of consciousness and sense of touch. In this research, researchers use several fNIRS sensors specifically on the patient’s front to measure the activity of the frontal lobe, where the researchers developed ML models to determine the levels of oxygenated hemoglobin related to pain. The results showed that pain was detected with an accuracy of 87%.

The study [ 35 ] considered the heartbeat as a type of body language. Checking a patient’s heartbeat constitutes a crucial medical examination tool. The researcher suggested a one-dimensional (1D) convolutional neural network model CNN, which classified the vibrational signals of the regular and irregular heartbeats through an electrocardiogram. The model used the de-noising auto-encoder (DAE) algorithm, and the results showed that the proposed model classified the sound signals of the heart with an accuracy of up to 99%.

6. Discussion

We can conclude from this study that reading and understanding body language through AI will help automatically detect epidemic diseases. Counting epidemic patients is a significant obstacle to detecting every infected person. The most prominent example that is evident now is COVID-19 sufferers. All the developed, middle, and developing countries of the world have faced a significant problem examining the disease due to many infected people and the rapid spread. Thus, infections increased significantly, making it difficult to catch up to detect. We suggest conducting a study to determine the movements and gestures of the body with epidemic diseases, such as those with COVID-19. Indeed, the epidemic disease will have unique and distinct movements in some body parts. The thermal camera to detect high body temperature certainly plays a significant role in indicating a patient with a disease. Still, it is difficult to determine what kind of disease is affected, and secondly, there may be a patient with epidemic disease, but their temperature may not have significantly increased. Thirdly, it may be revealed that the high temperature of an epidemic may be delayed, and the patient is in a critical stage of treatment. We focus in this study on the interest in studying the body language of some epidemics, especially COVID-19, which changed our lives for the worse. We have learned a harsh lesson from this deadly enemy: not to stand still. We must help our people, countries, and the world defend and attack this disease. Hence, we propose studying the use of body language using AI. We hope to collect and identify body parts’ gestures that characterize the epidemic in the upcoming studies on which we are currently working.

Table 1 indicates some studies that have used ML to discover disease and symptoms through gestures, hands, and facial expressions. This table concludes that the CNN algorithms are the most common and efficient methods of identifying disease symptoms through facial expressions and hand gestures. Some studies indicate that analyzing other body parts is also helpful in identifying some types of diseases using different ML algorithms, such as SVM and LSTM. It appears to us here that combining the proposed CNN algorithm with a new proposed algorithm to determine facial expressions will lead to high-quality results for detecting some epidemic diseases. It is essential first to study the symptoms that characterize the epidemic disease and their reflection on body expressions and then use the algorithm to learn the machine that has a higher efficiency in identifying these expressions.

The studies in Table 1 are classified as follows:

  • (1) Studies on medical diagnosis using AI for analyzing body language.
  • (2) Studies on medical diagnosis using electronic devices and AI for analyzing body language.
  • (3) Studies on COVID-19 diagnosis using other methods.

This study aims to survey research using ML algorithms to identify body features, movements, and expressions. Each movement is affected by the disease, and each disease is characterized by a distinct and different effect on the body. This means some body parts will undergo certain changes that point to a specific disease. Thus, we propose that ML algorithms capture images of body movements and expressions, analyze them, and identify diseases. This study surveyed a selection of existing studies that use different ML algorithms to detect body movements and expressions. Since these studies do not discuss this epidemiology method, this study seeks to document the use of ML algorithms in discovering epidemics such as COVID-19. Our survey analysis concludes that the results achieved indicate the possibility of identifying the body movements and expressions and that ML and convolutional neural networks are the most proficient in determining body language.

From an epidemiological, diagnostic, and pharmacological standpoint, AI has yet to play a substantial part in the fight against coronavirus. Its application is limited by a shortage of data, outlier data, and an abundance of noise. It is vital to create unbiased time series data for AI training. While the expanding number of worldwide activities in this area is promising, more diagnostic testing is required, not just for supplying training data for AI models but also for better controlling the epidemic and lowering the cost of human lives and economic harm. Clearly, data are crucial in determining if AI can be used to combat future diseases and pandemics. As [ 91 ] previously stated, the risk is that public health reasons will override data privacy concerns. Long after the epidemic has passed, governments may choose to continue the unparalleled surveillance of their population. As a result, worries regarding data privacy are reasonable.

7. Conclusions

According to patient surveys, communication is one of the most crucial skills a physician should have. However, communication encompasses more than just what is spoken. From the time a patient first visits a physician, their nonverbal communication, or “body language”, determines the course of therapy. Bodily language encompasses all nonverbal forms of communication, including posture, facial expression, and body movements. Being aware of such habits can help doctors get more access to their patients. Patient involvement, compliance, and the result can all be influenced by effective nonverbal communication.

Pandemic and epidemic illnesses are a worldwide threat that might kill millions. Doctors have limited abilities to recognize and treat victims. Human and technological resources are still in short supply regarding epidemic and pandemic conditions. To better the treatment process and when the patient cannot travel to the treatment location, remote diagnosis is necessary, and the patient’s status should be automatically examined. Altering facial wrinkles, movements of the eyes and eyebrows, some protrusion of the nose, changing the lips, and the appearance of certain motions of the hands, shoulders, chest, head, and other areas of the body are all characteristics of pandemic and epidemic illnesses. AI technology has shown promise in understanding these motions and cues in some cases. As a result, the concept of allocating body language to identifying epidemic diseases in patients early, treating them before, and assisting doctors in recognizing them arose owing to the speed with which they spread and people died. It should be emphasized that the COVID-19 disease, which horrified the entire world and revolutionized the world’s life, was the significant and crucial motivator for the idea of this study after we studied the body language analysis research in healthcare and defined the automatic recognition frame using AI to recognize various body language elements.

As researchers in information technology and computer science, we must contribute to discussing an automatic gesture recognition model that helps better identify the external symptoms of epidemic and pandemic diseases to help humanity.

Acknowledgments

First author’s research has been supported by Grant RMCG20-023-0023, Malaysia International Islamic University, and the second author’s work has been endorsed by the United Arab Emirates University Start-Up Grant 31T137.

Funding Statement

This research was funded by Grant RMCG20-023-0023, Malaysia International Islamic University, and United Arab Emirates University Start-Up Grant 31T137.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, R.A. and S.T.; methodology, R.A.; software, R.A.; validation, R.A. and S.T.; formal analysis, R.A.; investigation, M.A.H.A.; resources, M.A.H.A.; data curation, R.A.; writing—original draft preparation, R.A.; writing—review and editing, S.T.; visualization, M.A.H.A.; supervision, R.A. and S.T.; project administration, R.A. and S.T.; funding acquisition, R.A. and S.T. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Informed consent statement, data availability statement, conflicts of interest.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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