An effective presenter is not only knowledgeable and prepared, he or she also remains aware of the movements and positions of audience members. Such cues will reveal important information, such as their engagement and energy levels. Here are some questions trainers can ask themselves to gauge whether their audiences are attentive and interested:
*Do they make eye contact?
*Do they ask content-specific questions?
*Do they participate in activities?
According to Kuczala, if the facilitator can effectively read the audience, he or she will be able to respond with the appropriate movement technique before participants grow wary or disengaged. Participants’ body language can convey valuable information to the presenter. Similarly, a presenter’s body language sends equally important messages to the audience. The following eight expressions of positive body language can enhance learners’ perceptions of a presenter:
1. Good posture will make the presenter feel more self-assured.
2. Friendly eye-contact helps the presenter connect with participants, and it keeps his or her head held high, which improves posture.
3. A smile will show that the presenter is enthusiastic about the presentation, which will make participants more open to the content.
4. Energetic movement will enliven the audience.
5. An engaged brain and body. If a presenter is not in a confident frame of mind, it will affect his or her body language.
6. Moving around the learning space can bridge the gap between a presenter and his or her audience. Movement will also keep participants focused.
7. Calm mannerisms will make a better impression on an audience, since anxious movements can distract participants and make them feel uneasy.
8. Walking purposefully through the learning space connects the presenter with participants. Erratic or repetitive movement can annoy or distract individuals.
Further, the presenter should always be conscious of his or her mind-body connection. What the facilitator does or does not do with his or her body can affect training sessions in meaningful ways. The following techniques can engage participants and make positive impressions:
*Move around the learning space to better connect with, and become more familiar with, the audience.
*Use inviting hand gestures to ensure that positive physical and verbal messages are sent to the audience.
*Remain aware of the audience in order to assess whether participants’ learning states have started to decline, and respond with an appropriate kinesthetic activity.
Conversely, these approaches can send negative messages to learners:
*Hands that are crossed in front of the body are a sign of discomfort and/or disinterest.
*Hands that are hidden in pockets signify a lack of interest and impede the presenter’s ability to gesture. Skillful hand gestures can help a presenter connect more closely with an audience.
*Hands that are hidden behind the back imply untrustworthiness and/or insecurity.
*Hands on the hips signal a power position, which may make audience members feel intimidated and cause them to withdraw.
*Arms in a crossed position reveal that a presenter is disinterested and/or uncomfortable in his or her environment.