Teachers have one of the hardest jobs in the world. Not only do they have to be informative, they have to be inspiring, leaders and awesome public speakers!

Teachers have to be public speakers, leaders and entertainers all at once.

I have partnered up with my friend Breanne Dyck of My Name Is Breanne to give teachers and trainers some body language tools they can add to their tool belt. Check out the video we made for some tips for those who teach online and offline:


Whether you teach online or stand in front of a classroom here are 5 tips you can use while you teach:

Nonverbal Tricks for Teachers

1. Showing Your Hands:

Our hands are our trust indicators. This means that when other people can’t see our hands, they have trouble trusting us. Whenever you are teaching–in front of a classroom or on camera you always want to have your hands visible. Keep them out of your pockets, don’t put them behind your back or under a desk and on camera be sure to get your whole body in the shot.

2. Winner Body Language:

Researchers at the University of British Columbia found that when athletes win a race, the more expansive their body language and when athletes lose a race, the more defeated their body language. Want to look like a winner? Roll your shoulders back, firmly plant your feet, open your chest and keep your head up. The more confident your body looks, the more confident you will be perceived as. This is called high body power–taking up space with your body. When teaching, keep your arms loose, roll your shoulders back and keep your head up. This will help you claim the room and own your material.

  • Another interesting study at Harvard Business School had candidates do mock-interviews. The researchers had participants assume high body power before they walked into the room. Those who power posed were rated as more confident, intelligent and skilled. Most importantly, those candidates FELT MORE POWERFUL! So before you film a course or walk into a classroom do a little power posing. Here is a video on How to Look (and Feel) Confident:

3. Nonverbal Hooks:

Typically there is very low retention rates on verbal material. You need to hook the brain into remembering your content with nonverbal and verbal explanations. Try to think of ways you can explain your concepts using your hands, your voice or your body. Check out the video above for some examples!

4. Expressiveness:

Professor Stephen Ceci tested how much body language helped his student evaluations in a clever study. He scripted one of his classes so the verbal content was exactly the same. In one class he used his typical body language, in the other he used a few nonverbal tricks including nonverbal expressiveness. This means he varied his voice tone, used a wide variety of facial gestures to emphasize his points and moved his hands while teaching. In the expressive nonverbal class, he got higher ratings from students in every single area–including textbook quality! This shows us that being expressive nonverbally captivates our students and helps them remember us and the material more favorably.

5. The learning doesn’t stop here…

Check out some of Breanne’s awesome resources for teachers:

About Vanessa Van Edwards

About Vanessa Van Edwards

Lead Investigator, Science of People

I'm the author of the national bestselling book Captivate, creator of People School, and behavioral investigator.

I’ve always wanted to know how people work, and that’s what Science of People is about. What drives our behavior? Why do people act the way they do? And most importantly, can you predict and change behavior to be more successful? I think the answer is yes. More about Vanessa.

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