Exaggerate to Practice Your Body Language – Inspired by Daniel Coyle's The Little Book of Talent

by Gilda Bonanno LLC www.gildabonanno.com

Daniel Coyle, the New York Times best-selling author of The Talent Code, has written a fascinating and informative new book, The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills, which includes simple, practical tips based on examples and research from the world’s greatest talent hotbeds.

In his Tip #31 – To Learn a New Move, Exaggerate It, Coyle suggests that “going too far [exaggeration] helps us understand where the boundaries are."  The goal is to “go too far so you can feel the outer edges of the move, and then work on building the skill with precision."

Here are 2 ways to “exaggerate it” when practicing your presentation skills:

1.    Exaggerate Your Voice
Go through a whole practice of your presentation just focusing on your voice.  Speak louder than usual – don’t shout, but breathe fully and project your voice.  Exaggerate your enunciation, your pausing and your intonation.  Over-emphasize the most important words in each sentence and how you vary your voice to communicate emotion and meaning.

2.    Exaggerate Your Gestures
Do another round of practice just exaggerating your gestures.  Don’t focus on your words, slides,  voice or anything else – just make big, dramatic, visible gestures that correspond to what you are saying. Use bold gestures to draw pictures for the audience and to illustrate your content.

After you have practiced the exaggeration and have built the skill, dial back the exaggeration and return to a more heightened sense of “normal,” a “new normal” where you are able to incorporate powerful and appropriate voice and gestures to add impact to your presentation.

(A different, though also interesting, means of using exaggeration as a practice technique is to record yourself on video during a normal practice session and then play it back without sound, fast forwarding through it so your gestures and movement are exaggerated. In this exercise, you will be observing the exaggeration, rather than experiencing it directly.) 

For more on Daniel Coyle, including  The Little Book of Talent and his blog, visit his website http://thetalentcode.com/

For my other blog posts inspired by Daniel Coyle, see:

Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com