Confident Body Language: 4 Things President Obama Can Teach You

Business Communication 26th December 2016 Workbetter Team

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Words may be memorized, edited and re-edited. Speeches can be practiced. But when it comes to non-verbal cues, you don’t have much of a say because it is unconscious. It relays your emotions, mood and feelings. Non-verbal communication that happens through how you use your body, hands, how you stand or sit or move or even your tone of voice, gives away how you really feel. One of the leaders whose body language is in sync with the spoken words is Barack Obama. See him deliver a speech and you’ll know what we’re saying. Here are some lessons on how to come across as a confident person vis-à-vis your body language.

Hand gestures

Hand gestures make people listen to you and although it may seem like an additional thing one does when speaking, it is equally important. You would have noticed that Obama speaks as much from his mouth as with his hands. It adds to his charisma and makes him come across as a confident and truthful person. His hands in his public speeches sync with what he says. He uses gestures such as a wave of the hand to illustrate a wide range of things and also makes use of his index finger and thumb to emphasize his point. It’s a sign of confidence too.

Related: 6 Communication Lessons for Leaders from Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton

Smiling in moderation

Whenever Obama addresses the public, he smiles sparingly because sometimes smiling too much comes across as a sign of submissiveness. Given his stature, a leader must smile but in moderation, especially if you’re in the middle of a negotiation or a business meeting where you have a certain stance. By doing this, you come across as confident provided you don’t grin.

Related: How to Exercise Power and Influence in an Organization

Tone of voice

Voice functions at multiple levels and determines how people perceive you. It orchestrates the words you choose to speak. Obama’s tone of delivery is commendable. There is enthusiasm, pauses, oh-my moments we’re all thrown into when he speaks. It reveals a certain degree of confidence (no arrogance) in what he is saying. He entices you when he speaks because his tone of voice is such. He doesn’t scream into the mic or is too soft to be heard even with the mic on. You too should know how and when to modulate. Stand before the mirror and see yourself speak. Record your voice and hear your voice. Most of all practice.

Using space

When delivering a speech, how often you move or whether you pace up and down the stage reflects your state of mind. Your audience gets to know whether you’re in a hurry or are calm. Besides, they even judge you on whether you should move at all. When he stands behind the podium, Obama uses his hands to involve the people he’s addressing. The situation doesn’t demand him to run around. Your movement too should be purposeful.

Related: Ways to Foster Collaborative Environment at Work


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