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

by Gilda Bonanno LLC
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 #28 - Mime It, he suggests "removing everything except the essential action lets you focus on what matters most: making the right reach." Miming it translates into playing piano with your fingers on a tabletop instead of a piano keyboard or swinging at empty air rather than holding a golf club or baseball bat and swinging at a ball.

This tip also can be applied to practicing presentation skills.  For one of your practice sessions, try miming your body language.  For this particular practice sessions, the "essential action" is the body language element that you want to work on. Stand up and deliver your presentation, but don't say the words out loud.  Instead, just "go through the motions" - use eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, posture and movement as if you were delivering the presentation. Run through the points in your head and as needed, change your body language to communicate that point. 

Watch yourself in the mirror or record yourself on video. The point is not to memorize specific gestures to use - that will end up looking insincere and too rehearsed.  The point is to become comfortable enough with your body language that when you add your voice and words back in, you are able to use natural body language that matches what you are saying.
You want to feel in your body how it would feel to use gestures, make eye contact with different parts of the room or stand confidently facing the audience. 

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