How to Match Presentation Style with Body Size

BY Jessica Helinski
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We all know body language is crucial when presenting but have you ever considered how to adjust your body language according to your physical size? That’s the topic of a recent Fast Company article by Anett Grant, CEO of Executive Speaking, Inc. Grant believes that when presenting, certain behaviors and movements can be a benefit (or detriment) depending on body type.

Movement, energy level and gesture space are three things that can be adapted to body type, which in turn will optimize body language when presenting.

For example, Grant shares how speakers of different sizes should adjust their behavior in regards to movement:

  • Speakers who are tall and slim should strive for smooth movements, to avoid appearing gawky. Try to stay balanced and centered, and avoid swaying (keep both feet firmly planted).
  • Those who are large in size have an advantage because they tend to have a commanding presence. But, they should be conscious of their forward movements: Getting too close to audiences may be intimidating.
  • Small-​stature speakers should use their movements as punctuation. Try to stop and start your strides, rather than constant pacing. “By continuously varying your audience's focus of attention, you can project a more dynamic presence,” Grant explains.

Check out Grant’s entire article for more insights into how to adjust your presenting style to work with your body type. Following her advice can help you capitalize on your shape to keep your audiences engaged.  “You can be a great speaker no matter what your size,” she writes. “But if you aren’t thinking about how your body affects the way audiences perceive you, you’re missing out on a major opportunity for impact.”