One of the most crucial things to get right when you deliver training is your body language, as we are all experts at showing nerves to others through our body language but how exactly?

There are many subtle ways that your audience will read your nerves instantly but some they will notice more than others.  The good news is that if you see them in yourself, you can do something about them so below I’ve put together some of the most common body language signs that expose your nerves:

Your Eye contact and face – You find yourself looking everywhere other than your audience as you are scared to engage in that eye to eye contact.  You might also look like you are a rabbit in the headlights with a very straight face and possibly blushed cheeks.

Your Hands – You may be doing everything in your power to avoid showing your hands; they may be in your pockets, behind your back, dangling lifelessly by your sides, you might even be rubbing them or clapping with regularity.

Props – You might be using everything available to you so that you can hide behind them.  This can be things like holding a bit of paper in front of you, waving a pen or pointer or even worse clicking it too!  Other convenient means of hiding can be behind laptops or a dais/stand often coupled with a death grip.

Legs and feet – You might find that you pace around sometimes with a nervous ‘energy’ or that you rock on your feet; you could even find yourself tapping one of them.  Another sign is if you cross your legs as you are closing yourself off to the audience. Alternatively, if you stand on the spot motionless for an extended period, you will end up looking like a scared rabbit in the headlights!

Perception of how you portray yourself in your body language is something that is hugely interesting and a brilliant question to ask anyone who is in your sessions.  Asking simply, “How did you read my body language?” can often be quite a surprise so why not ask it?  I always tell everyone to think “Serene Swan”: on the top of the water you see an elegant gliding bird, however, underneath (unseen to you) are the feet rapidly paddling! It's the same as when you deliver training; what’s happening externally versus what’s happening in your brain internally.

Are you showing your nerves by doing any of the above? If you’d like to learn how to deliver training with best practice in your body language, come and join us on one of our PTT Train the Trainer courses at a location near you around the UK or In-house if you have specific needs for your organisation.

Scott Fraser is a Master Trainer at Target Training and delivers our PTT Train the Trainer courses and our Advanced PTT Train the Trainer courses.  You can read more about him here.