A video published by graduate students at Stanford University should be required viewing for Toastmasters.
Body Language is an Important Part of Speech
Toastmasters know that their body language must harmonize with the message and purpose of their speech. The original Competent Communication manual had an entire project titled Your Body Speaks. This chapter documented how your stance, movement, gestures and facial expression are important parts of speaking. They “… enhance your message, give you credibility, help release any nervousness you feel … and also help you achieve your speech’s purpose.”
Communication begins even before you open your mouth to speak. Your audience gets a first impression of you from your stance and your posture.
Stanford University Body Language Video
The video is titled Make Body Language Your Superpower. In it, Stanford students explain three basic gestures and how they can be used to strengthen your message. They introduce their presentation with the following: “Body language, both the speaker’s and the audience’s, is a powerful form of communication that is difficult to master, especially if the speaker is nervous. This video will teach you how to use your body language effectively, read the audience’s body language and what to do when they look bored or disconnected. Use these tools to enhance your nonverbal communication abilities and better connect with your audiences.”