Body language in presentations – how to use it wisely

One can experience again and again how actually good presentations are spoiled by inappropriate moderation. Body language in presentations must also match the content. Unfortunately, the content of a presentation is no longer optimally transported to the audience. The presenter’s voice and gestures are a crucial factor in conveying content convincingly. They are stylistic devices too important to be ignored.

Excellent PowerPoint slides are the indispensable basis for a successful presentation today. A mediocre PowerPoint presentation has virtually no realistic chance of success with the public in 2022. Not only do the individual slides have to be excellent. The presenter must also present the slides perfectly. Therefore, a good PowerPoint presentation is unlikely to be successful without a well-prepared speaker with good body language in presentations.   

Beautiful PowerPoint slides are only the beginning – you also have to present them well

Equally important  as professionally designed slides, is the professional presentation of the content. For the presenter, this means taking on a lot of responsibility. He can either “get across” the individual messages convincingly and entertainingly or ruin everything. 
If the presenter’s presentation style doesn’t resonate with the audience, even the best slides won’t save the presentation. It is often surprising that many companies at least recognize the importance of professional slides; solid training for the speaker is often neglected. But you can learn to present slides skillfully.

The body language IN PRESENTATIONS underlines your messages

How do you use body language correctly in presentations to present successfully? To do this, you can look at the Internet many experts. There are countless lectures on Youtube that you can watch as an example. For example, search for the keywords “body language” and “stage”. This will give you some initial insight into how the professionals do it. You will notice that body language in presentations on a stage is sometimes quite different from the gestures we use in conversation with a colleague. In German-speaking countries, we usually used our hands and arms rather sparingly during conversations. It is simply unfamiliar for many to use them. On stage, your arms and hands are important communication tools. 

The 3-joint rule by Thomas Skipwith

In his courses, the experienced speaker and coach Thomas Skipwith teaches a concept for using hands and arms sensibly to support a presentation. His interesting thesis is that body language in presentations also has a volume. If you are speaking in front of a small group of people, you should gesticulate correspondingly little, but purposefully. During presentations in front of a large audience, small hand movements cannot be recognized by all spectators. Here, the movements must be correspondingly larger. Thomas Skipwith’s rule of thumb is therefore: small audience – small movements. In a small circle, the hands are used only up to the wrist. With a medium-sized audience of about 20-30 people, the hands are used arms to the elbow. For large audiences, i.e. several hundred people, the upper arms up to the shoulder joints can also be used for communication. 

Take advantage of the space available to you for presenting

If you have a little more space available for your presentation, you can also use this space for your purposes. You may have room for a flip chart on which to sketch something. Also, take the opportunity to take a few steps toward your audience. Try not to hide behind your lectern, but move your body calmly across the stage. This adds variety and keeps the viewers’ attention high. Here, too, the correct dosage is important. For a good PowerPoint presentation, you need to know exactly the degree between dynamic and hectic. Too much movement will quickly distract your audience from the content of your slides. 

Often underestimated when presenting: facial expressions

Unless you are presenting your slides in a huge convention hall or a Gothic cathedral, the audience will also be able to see your facial expressions. What happens in your face while you are presenting? Is it motionless, like a machine? Do your songs and corners of your mouth twitch because you’re insanely nervous? Or can they use your facial expressions specifically to emphasize your messages? Does your face shine at the right part of the presentation and become serious and meaningful when you say something very important? Tip: practice in front of the mirror to see if your facial expression matches the content of your words.  


Pay appropriate attention to your body language in presentations. Poor body language can irritate your audience and, in the worst case, do great damage to your entire PowerPoint presentation. Train in front of colleagues or friends and ask for honest feedback. Or contact a good PowerPoint agency. There very effective Trainings offered, which will help you in a short time to a confident appearance in front of an audience.