Edward T. Hall, the noted social anthropologist, claims 60 percent of all
communication is nonverbal.
Communication analyst Albert Mehrabian says we
are perceived in three ways: 7 percent verbally, 38 percent vocally, and a full 55
percent visually, including gestures, posture, stride, facial expressions,
movement, dress, and eye contact. These guys undoubtedly know more about it
than I do. What I want you to learn is that gestures and body language can be
used to help tell your story without using additional words, they can make you
feel better, and they can make your audience like you more.
Gestures include all physical activity before, during, and after your talk. A
gesture can be just about anything. It could be a hand on the hip, a wrinkled
brow, a raise of the eyebrows, or leaning against the lectern. In fact,
communications expert Mario Pei estimates that humans can display up to
700,000 different physical signs. I’ll start numbering them now: 1) eyelash curl,
2) fingernail growth, 3) double chin wiggle . . . Of course, I’m kidding, but that
is an awful lot of movement to keep track of, don’t you think?
According to Dorothy Leeds in her book PowerSpeak, “Audiences are
making their hard-to-shake first impressions as you are setting up, waiting to be
introduced, and walking to the platform to begin your speech.” When you walk
into the room you should be smiling, upbeat, and at least appearing to be calm.
You want them to be in fun, don’t you?
If I had to pick one technique in this whole book for you to master, this
would be it: smile.You can get more (s)mileage out of this simple facial gesture
than any one of the more than 250,000 of which you are capable. This ultimate
gesture, that is recognized all over the world, projects warmth and the message
that friendship is possible.

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