Body language is a marvelous tool that allows you to look at your audience and see if they are in alignment with you or in disagreement with you.
If your audience is sitting forward, with open faces and arms uncrossed, they are most likely engaged in what you are saying.
If you are sharing complex information, don’t be surprised if you see wrinkled brows, flat expressions, or bunched up shoulders. Although each of these signs can be a sign of frustration, when complex information is being shared, these signs are often seen in an audience as they try to absorb what you are saying. At some point, you should see them relax, lean forward, and have a more open face. If they don’t, you may have lost them.
If members of your audience have their arms crossed, are slouched in their seat, look away frequently, or yawn, they have most likely lost interest in what you are saying. They obviously don’t want to be there.
But let’s say you see those signs with only a few people in the audience. It could be due to several other factors, such as not getting enough sleep the night before, having too much work on their plates, or frustration due to another situation. Note that none of these behaviors have anything to do with you, the presenter. So don’t assume that every sign an audience member gives is a direct result of your presentation.
I will give you little hint here: the most hostile and defensive people tend to sit in the back third of the room. Don’t try to play to them. Stick with audience members who are there for you and want to be there.
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