man presenting

The importance of good posture in public speaking

Good body language when giving a presentation plays a huge part in so many ways:

  • It helps you to feel calm & confident on the inside and look calm and confident on the outside
  • It demonstrates high status meaning the audience feel you have something worth listening to
  • It helps you to breathe easily and project your voice

If you have a strong presentation posture whether that’s on a virtual call or on stage you will feel calm and confident inside. Once you feel calm and confident the audience can’t help but sense that from you and see it in you. (The opposite is also true that if you look scared and nervous the audience will see that and feel that too). Good posture and body language are critical to ensuring you stand or sit up straight, open your windpipe and can breathe easily. You won’t suffer from shortness of breath and you’ll add to your calm composure.

A good presentation posture also leads to better voice production and projection, meaning you don’t have to shout to be heard.

Are you a professional struggling with public speaking? We’ve helped hundreds of professionals become confident speakers. Contact us today to discuss 1-to-1 training and taster sessions.

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Why don’t we all have good posture?

Although we are made to stand straight, when we are young, we lose it because we sit at desks, hunch over computers, and generally don’t move around as much as we were naturally meant to. Furthermore, sitting or standing in a bad position can feel more comfortable so we can find ourselves in these positions without even meaning to.

Public speaking standing up

Whether you are presenting in a conference hall or a meeting room, your presenter stance is important. Take a look at our video on the topic and try it out for yourself to see how you can improve. You can also find out what to do with your hands when giving a presentation here.

Public speaking posture – sitting down

Whether you are sitting at a meeting room table or in front of your computer on a virtual call, your Seated Presenter Stance is also important. We are aware that there has never been a more important time to adapt to a virtual environment. But, because we do not see the full body on video, we are missing some pieces of the body language puzzle. This is true of the presenter and the rest of the audience. We are also likely to be missing some hand gestures as they can be out of shot. In addition, even though we can see the face, we may be missing some of the important micro-expressions. As the presenter or host, instead of relying on being able to ‘pick it up’ if someone has a concern, make it as easy as possible for people to ask questions and give feedback. See below for more resources on engaging your audience virtually.

Rightly or wrongly, human nature drives us to follow (and trust) high-impact or “high-status” individuals, so if you want to influence and persuade, having a good presentation posture and avoiding unconscious low-status body language whether sitting or standing is a good idea.

Can you see how important body language is? And it all happens before you’ve even said a word!

How good are you at reading body language?

Interesting facts!

Did you know? Typically, 14-16 areas of the women’s brain are active when reading body language compared to a typical male’s brain with 4-6 active areas.

Did you know? When asked to decode a silent movie woman were twice as good at it as men. 87% of women correctly guessed what was happening in the movie Vs just 42% of men. Apparently, homosexual men and men in highly emotional jobs did nearly as well as women.

Did you know? Someone with autism may not exhibit typical body language and may seem incongruent with what they are saying. Additionally, they may not be as naturally skilful in decoding other’s body language.

For more information about the importance of good posture or to book a training course visit our website

If you know you want to improve your presentation skills but aren’t quite sure where to start, visit our page to help you choose the best next steps for you


How good are your in-person and virtual presentation skills? Try our quiz to see how you score!

Posted by Dee Clayton on 31 Oct 2018

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