Body Language? is it the only thing, that matters!

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Today i was invited to be a general evaluator of a Toastmasters Meeting and as a GE, i was to be overseeing the functioning of every aspect of the meeting. I noticed alot of great things, and also noticed many areas of improvement. One of the notes i mentioned, was that all the evaluators ONLY focused that Body Language wasnt used much by most of the prepared speech speakers. Hence i told them to look at other aspects as well, which was content, structure, strategy and many other areas of delivering the perfect evaluation.

Everyone seem pleased with my observations, until after the event was adjourned :- a Member came to me and said. Im sorry, i dont agree with you. I told him, that it was truly ok, that he didnt agree with me and i respect that. He is allowed to have his own variation to the topic.

He continued. No! … Ray you said to ignore BODY language and as he was Certified Body Language Expert and Learning and development trainer. He highly focuses on Body Language of every speaker that he comes across…. in Toastmasters and Out as well.

It got me thinking, and i told him , Sir…. i appreciate that you focus alot on Body Language. It is a Key area in everything we do. But whats the use of Body Language, when you have nothing substantial to say? When your content is not in order? when your props and visual aids are not functioning or broken? or when your grammar is horrible.

Toastmasters in general is a holistic approach to public speaking. It gives you resources in an all round development of a speaker. Not just body language. An evaluator needs to :

  1. See a Holistic Evaluation of the speech provided by the speaker
  2. Deliver suggestions and observation in all areas of the speech
  3. Ensure that the Speaker needs to relate all his attributes of body language, vocal variety and more towards complementing his speech.
  4. cover every aspect that will benefit the speaker.

Now being calm in our discussion, i did make him understand, that i didnt ignore Body Language, but its important that a Speaker needs to grow in more than 1 area of Public Speaking,.. which are mostly :

  1. Speech Goals
  2. Speech Content (Story, CTA, Conclusion, Facts etc)
  3. Vocal Variety
  4. Body Language (which even includes, posture, attire, personality and more)
  5. the Language itself (grammar, etc)
  6. and in advance levels, even use Techniques and Strategies
  7. and many other ways.

However what surprised me is when in the end, he said, Ray you didnt use ” pauses” when i delivered my Technical Evaluation.  Thats when i felt, the goal of the member was to find errors in me, rather that provide positive and constructive evaluation. He does have a long way to go and wish him the best.

The Discussion ended in a Good note, but what i concluded was Public Speaking is a holistic development, that needs every aspect of a person to be capable to deliver the perfect message in the end.

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