Our bodies talk louder than our words. If you say something happy but look sad, the audience will believe you are sad or sarcastic.
Body language is everything non-verbal in your speech. It includes: eye contact (one of the trickiest parts of speaking), gestures, facial expressions, hands, feet, legs, posture and fiddle.
Did you know that your body language contributes up to 70% of your message, according to NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) experts? The best sort of body language is open and relaxed and upright. You need to stand with your feet about a body width apart, posture straight, chin up.
You do not have to make gestures. They can enhance, but also distract from your message. Keep arms relaxed by your sides while talking.
When you do make gestures they need to be clear, simple and relevant to the point you are making. They should be open and not aggressive (no pointing).
Facial expressions need to follow the mood or tone of what you are saying.
If you do have cue cards, they should be held in one hand and be unobtrusive.
Finally, no gripping of your body, fiddle, pulling of clothes, clenching or hands in pockets. It all distracts. And no holding of pens or markers.
Remember, it will contribute the majority of your message, no matter what. So, make your body work for you, not against you.