Techniques for Controlling Body Language in Media Interviews and Presentations

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Distracting hand gestures, bad posture and moving around too much can derail a media interview or presentation. Media Trainer Russ Rhea puts on his dance moves to demonstrate the sure-fire “Saturday Night Fever Pose” to avoid distractions.



Hi, I’m Russ Rhea with the Predictive Media Network.

In our predictive interviewing and presentation training workshops, we stress the importance of non-verbals. To help spokespeople remember the key imperatives when it comes to things like posture and hand gestures, we go back to a dance craze that didn’t last long but still familiar across multiple generations.

(Music-Bee Gee’s “Staying Alive”)

Yes, we’re talking about the disco era and a stance we refer to as the “Saturday Night Fever” pose. It’s a great thing to keep in mind when you’re presenting or standing in an interview.

We’ll demonstrate that in a moment. But first, a quick look at how distracting non verbals can be in a presentation or media appearance. One of the most common questions in our workshops is “what do I do with my hands?” It’s such a challenge for so many people that hand gestures were poked fun at in this legendary movie scene.

(Talladega Nights clip)

Reporter: Ricky, where did you learn to drive like that?
Ricky Bobby: The car, it handled real good. I’m not sure what to do with my hands.
Reporter: Just hold them down by your side
Ricky Bobby: We were real happy with what was going on and at the end of the day, you’ve got to be happy.

Russ Rhea:
It’s funny when Ricky Bobby does it. But hand movements can be a big distraction from the message you want to get across to the audience.

(Big hand movement examples)

Police Chief: Somewhere in this area, that car was parked, someone got out, somebody got back in.

Russ Rhea:
One of the other biggest distractions and common is swaying. This is particularly bad when you’re on camera and move out of where the videographer has you framed. If you move too much, it’s going to the distract the audience from what you’re saying.

Remember the “Saturday Night Fever” pose to avoid both of these big distractions. With your hands, subtle hand gestures are great. It’s how people speak naturally. It’s much worse to try to anchor down your hands. Remember, your hands should be down and in front of you, not out and up around your face where they can be distracting.

And a simple trick to avoid swaying…put one foot slightly in front of the other and bend your knees a little bit. Your forced to balance yourself and you stay nice and still and have good posture when you’re giving a presentation or standing  interview.

That’s why we call it the Saturday Night fever pose, with your hands down and in front of you, subtle hand gestures, on foot slight in front of the other. It’s “you can tell by the way I use my walk, I’m a woman’s man, no time to talk.” The Saturday Night fever pose, a simple thing to keep in mind to avoid distractions. Thanks for watching.