Tuesday, September 23, 2014

[How to Deliver a Great TED Talk] Post 6: Body Language

< Previous Post | Book review | Next Post ->

Attitude is Important

The audience comes to see you because they like you. You should treat them nicely. Smile, and establish trust and friendliness. Behave from the time you stand up from your chair until you sit down again.

Neutral Position

A neutral position is the gesture you use when your do not want to express anything in particular. The best neutral position on the stage is probably acting as if you are speaking to your friend. Put your hand down beside your legs with your elbow bent a bit.

Position Your body

Square yourself. Point your body and feet towards your audience. Keep your body symmetry to reduce the sense of nervousness. Keep your arms above the waist but below the neck. Open your gesture. Do not let both arms be a barrier between you and your audience. Do not lock your elbows to your side. Set them free. Avoid touching your face, head, hair, and the back of your neck.

Eye Contacts

Pick a person, when making eye contact. Talk directly to that person as if there are only two of you, for an entire sentence or an entire thought. Then, pick the next target, and repeat. Look at one eye at a time. Some experts recommend to pick the left eye is your sentence is emotional, and the right eye for logical. For a larger venue, divide the room into 4 sections. Spend 1-3 minutes talking to that section. Then move to another section. Do not close your eyes unless you have a purpose, e.g., letting the audience know that your are pondering something.


  • If you act as a character, fix your position. You may move out of the position if you talk about something else. Then, move back to the position to act as the character again. 
  • If you talk chronologically, start from your audience's left and move to their right. 
  • Move towards your audience, when you want to emphasize your key message, or to strengthen your personal relationship with your audience. 
  • Do not move while you are talking, unless you have to walk for a long distance. 
  • Always put yourself in to the right position

Bad Positions

  • Fig leave: Putting your hands together below your waist expresses timidity.
  • Pockets: Putting your hands in packets makes you look passive or disinterested.
  • Parade rest: Holding your hand together behind your back suggests that you are hiding something.
  • Hips: Putting your hands on your hips makes you look defiance.
  • Crossarms: Crossing your arms is a negatively challenging position.

Other Tips

  • Let your gesture amplify, not overwhelm your talk.
  • Do not point with your fingers. It is aggressive and offensive. Use your thumb or your palm, instead, to point.
  • Nod after asking a question to acknowledge your audience's silent thought.
Source: How to Deliver a TED Talk: Secrets of the World's Most Inspiring Presentations by Jeremey Donovan

      No comments:

      Post a Comment