The truth drug: your non-verbal behaviour
Is there something that gives you away during a presentation? Something you’re not really conscious about? But that seeps through, some way or another?
If there is something that leads us to the truth, it is often our body. Our non-verbal behaviour. The body does not lie. Words may not tell the truth, but the body never lies.
I more than once meet this phenomenon when I teach Phd. students. Part of the creative process of a Phd. student is that your are sometimes stuck. There is a lot of uncertainty. Will I get my project done in time? Am I on the right track? How on earth am I going to process all these results?
As a consequence it often seeps through that Phd. students that are stuck and present, have their body telling the truth.
They say A, but their body shows B. When we as a group analyze the presentation, the group often pinpoints that the language was not congruent with the body language.
We feel this on a subconscious level, when we hear and see a presentation the first time. But, when you tape the presentation and see it again and really observe, you can tell and it suddenly becomes unhidden. Suddenly you can exactly pinpoint, to what it is that makes you as a public less convinced. Body language and voice is not congruent with the text.
The Phd. student him/herself is often quite surprised. How is this possible? Indeed I am stuck in the process right now. How on earth is it possible that this seeps through in my presentation?
To make it more concrete. They for instance tend to move away with their body. Literally, not standing “behind their words”. Their voice is less firm and has a questionable quality, when they make statements.
What can we learn from this?
Become conscious that words that you “do not believe in” will often not be underpinned by your behaviour and voice and the audience can tell. If not consciously, they will judge you on it on a subconscious level.
Why not mentioning that you are in the process? Why not telling that you need more research? Why not sticking to what you do know? You will feel far more comfortable and you presentation will come across much better.
Do not put yourself in an uncomfortable situation. The audience above all wants to trust you.