Public speaking mannerisms are defined as habitual gestures, a particular way of speaking or an idiosyncrasy. It could be a behavior or way of thought that others would think peculiar.
In public speaking, there are two ways mannerisms are of concern. The first is gestures that become mannerisms and the second is the particular way of speaking, mode of behavior or way of thought. The first is always bad. The second may or may not be bad.
Public Speaking Mannerisms: When Gestures Go Awry
Gestures are icing on the cake of public speaking.
Lets eliminate a misconception. Have you heard of the commonly quoted study that found that...
* 7% of communication comes from our words
* 38% of communication comes from our tone of voice
* 55% of communication comes from our body language
The findings of Albert Mehrabian (Silent Messages: Implicit Communication of Emotions and Attitudes) were not referring to public speaking or even normal every day communication.
This is used to promote Power Point presentations because according to this information, 55% of communication is visual.
The research looked at expressing feelings. When expressing feelings, only 7% of communication comes from our words.
Gestures when your on a podium in front of an audience make you come alive. The larger the audience, the more alive you look. They can emphasize what you say. They can also describe what you say.
What happens when the gestures go awry.
When a gesture becomes the exact same repeated motion it becomes a mannerism. Public speaking mannerisms are very annoying for an audience.
An example is the Bill Clinton Pushing the thumb tack into the TelePrompter. According to the blogosphere, this resulted from a compromise to get him to stop pointing at the audience. So now he locks his pointer finger under his thumb.
Occasionally seeing others emulating this, they have no idea it is not a good thing.
It is annoying to the audience. It serves no useful purpose. Perhaps most of all, it means your out of control. If you give into mannerisms, it can often be from nervousness.
But I Can Not Do Two Things At Once
You may have read studies that say it is impossible to do more than one thing at the same time. Our brains process and preform only one thing at a time. You may feel you cannot do two things at the same time.
Her is the problem with this thinking. Piano players do three things at once. If you count their facial expressions and body mannerism they actually do five things at once. Left and right hand playing keys, foot pumping away and the face and body doing their things.
So if you want to think you cannot do two things then there is no need to read any further.
The key here is not letting the body do something out of nervousness. The goal is to keep the body in control.
Stop the Public Speaking Mannerisms
Many times we are not aware of our mannerisms. If this is the case, have someone in the audience watch you. Better yet, have someone video tape you and watch yourself.
If your hand, face and body gestures are not emphatic or descriptive, if they are repetitive of the same motion, then they are mannerisms.
Only be becoming aware of them can you eliminate them. Once aware, then you have to want to. Or, you can take your chances on having your own trademark, like pushing tacks into the TelePrompter.
Mannerisms of Body and Voice looks at the public speaking mannerisms that go beyond gestures. These too can be annoying to an audience.