3 Steps to Eliminate Body Tics in Public Speaking

Posted on Posted in Public Speaking

I just saw an interesting video in which the speaker used the exact same round arm movements with every statement he made. This young man had made a video for his business and wanted to know more about my business so I told him what I did and also told him about his repetitive arm movement. I call it a body tic.

When we use the words ‘Um’ or ‘Ah’ throughout our discourse, we refer to them as verbal tics. Using your arms in a repetitive fashion is a type of tic as well and might be called a body tic. I also consider pacing back and forth on a stage in a repetitive manner a body tic.

If you are selling your services in some fashion, either through your website, on a stage, or in a webinar, you are being judged. Your goal is to project professionalism which helps establish your credibility and your authority in what you are doing.

I am all in favor of good body language while presenting; however, the problem with the verbal tic or the body tic is that we focus on the tic and not on the message. And, in some cases we begin to count. When that happens, your message is lost because the tic has taken center stage.

So how do we get rid of the tic?

  • First, you must be aware that you are doing it. If you are video recording yourself for YouTube or your website, for example, you must study the playback. Listen to yourself, watch yourself, and then work on what needs improvement.

  • Next, hit the pause button. I am serious! While you are practicing, take note of what you are doing with your hands as you speak. If they’re moving in the same direction or if you are pacing back and forth, continue to talk, but stop the movement. Stand still for a couple of seconds or don’t move your arms for a few seconds: just let them hang.
  • Finally, use just one arm for a change or place your arms behind your back or put a hand in your pocket or hold a pen. Do it differently. if you’ve been pacing, try moving in the opposite direction when you resume walking.

Admittedly, any type of movement is better than none; however, you can beat this and become a better presenter which is better for you and your audience.


If you are interested in honing your presentation skills and discovering your richer, warmer, deeper voice in the process, join me in Myrtle Beach, April 28 & 29 for my next 2-Day Workshop.

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