Body Language Mistakes You Need to Avoid in Public Speaking

Public speaking can be a daunting task for many people. It can be nerve-wracking to stand in front of a group of people and deliver a speech or presentation. However, it's not just the content of your speech that matters. Your body language can also have a significant impact on how your audience receives your message.

In this article, we'll discuss several body language mistakes that you need to avoid in public speaking. We'll provide tips and tricks on how to improve your body language to ensure that your message comes across effectively. Let's get started!

Mistake #1: Failing to Make Eye Contact

Eye contact is essential in public speaking. It helps to establish a connection with your audience and communicates confidence. Failing to make eye contact can make you appear nervous or unprepared. When you're speaking, make a conscious effort to look at different members of your audience. Try to maintain eye contact for a few seconds at a time before moving onto the next person.

Another tip for making eye contact is to scan the room before you begin speaking. This will help you get a sense of your audience and establish a connection with them.

Mistake #2: Fidgeting

When you're nervous, it can be tempting to fidget with your hands or feet. However, this can be distracting for your audience and make you appear unprofessional. To avoid fidgeting, practice keeping your hands still and your feet planted firmly on the ground. If you're not sure what to do with your hands, try clasping them in front of you or placing them at your sides.

You may also want to practice relaxation techniques before you speak, such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation. These can help you feel more calm and centered, reducing the urge to fidget.

Mistake #3: Slouching or Leaning

Your posture can convey a lot about your confidence and authority. Slouching or leaning can make you appear uninterested or unprepared. To improve your posture, try standing up straight with your shoulders back and your head up. This will help you appear confident and engaged.

If you're using a podium or lectern, make sure not to lean on it. This can create a physical barrier between you and your audience, making it harder to establish a connection. Instead, stand tall and use the podium for support.

Mistake #4: Speaking Too Quickly or Too Slowly

Pacing is an important aspect of public speaking. Speaking too quickly can make it difficult for your audience to follow along, while speaking too slowly can be tedious and boring. To find the right pace, try practicing your speech with a metronome or recording yourself and playing it back to analyze your pace.

Another tip is to use pauses strategically. Pausing can help you emphasize important points and give your audience time to reflect on what you're saying. By using pauses effectively, you can create a more engaging and dynamic presentation.

Mistake #5: Ignoring Your Body Language

It's easy to get caught up in the content of your speech and forget about your body language. However, your body language can have a significant impact on how your message is received. To avoid this mistake, try practicing in front of a mirror or recording yourself. Pay attention to your posture, gestures, and facial expressions.

You may also want to ask a trusted friend or colleague to watch your presentation and provide feedback on your body language. This can help you identify areas for improvement and make adjustments before your next presentation.

Mistake #6: Lack of Energy or Enthusiasm

Your energy and enthusiasm can be contagious. If you're not excited about your topic, it will be difficult for your audience to get excited too. To convey energy and enthusiasm, try varying your tone of voice, using gestures, and making eye contact.

You may also want to practice your presentation with a friend or colleague and ask for feedback on your energy levels. If you're not sure how to convey enthusiasm, try watching some TED talks or presentations by skilled public speakers for inspiration.

Mistake #7: Failing to Smile

A smile can go a long way in public speaking. It helps to put your audience at ease and convey warmth and approachability. If you're not sure when to smile, try smiling at the beginning and end of your presentation, as well as at key points throughout.

Another tip is to practice your smile in front of a mirror. Pay attention to your facial muscles and try to create a genuine, warm smile.


Body language can play a significant role in how your audience receives your message. By avoiding these common mistakes and practicing good body language habits, you can ensure that your message is received loud and clear. Remember to make eye contact, avoid fidgeting, maintain good posture, pace yourself appropriately, pay attention to your body language, convey energy and enthusiasm, and smile. With practice and dedication, you can become a skilled public speaker and deliver powerful presentations that engage and inspire your audience.