Use hand gestures effectively, so they don’t make you look foolish

Use hand gestures effectively, so they don’t make you look foolish

If I was  told that I need to present with only 1 speech element excluding words, I would definitely choose to do this just by using my hands. Why?

Because I’m aware of the power of conveying messages we all keep in our hands without a word spoken. But I also know that most people simply don’t use their gestures correctly while presenting. Result?

A person who aimlessly moves hands around, looking awkward to the audience.

Picture 1: Someone from the audience looking really confused after you demonstrate every singe karate move that exists 🙂

It’s not a secret that your arms can drastically enhance your speech or presentation. However, in order to achieve this, you must understand how to use them wisely.

Most of us are taught wrongly

Your school teachers, parents and even some communications experts can tell you to avoid moving your hands constantly throughout the speech for at least 3 reasons:

  • Over-gesturing grabs people’s attention. Instead of listening to your words, they are going to follow what you do and lose interest in what you have to say
  • It reduces the level of focus on the presentation itself, causing you to feel confused
  • The subconscious impression of the audience is that such a person lacks expertise or confidence, even if this may not be the case

And this is correct to some extent, let’s be honest here. However, by following this advice strictly, many people neglect the power of their gestures. It is proved that the most popular ted talkers were making 465 hand gestures over 18 min, unlike the least popular ones who used only 272.

May your hands work for you

In order to achieve this, you must gain a strategic approach to your gestures. Which means learning how, and when to use your hands for maximum effect. But caution: Some gestures can mean different things in different cultures. Therefore, you are strongly advised to research the audience during the preparation of your speech.

In order to prevent possible misunderstanding, discover the cultural traits of people to whom you are addressing. If you are not familiarized with their way of non verbal communication, get some relevant insights and incorporate them into your speech.

Raise your hand after you ask the question

Picture 2: Dog clearly waiting for the audience to respond

Snap fingers to decrease the value of something

“This problem is very easy to solve”

Picture 3: Snapping fingers helps you decrease the value of certain thing

Whenever you want to describe how a certain thing has a small impact and is not so disturbing, snap your fingers. This gesture is very powerful, because it combines visual and sound elements at the same time.

People usually accept this sign very positively. It is well known but not used too often, which makes the audience understand how simple, yet extremely effective it can be.

Show your palm sideways

This gesture looks like holding your hand as you are shaking someone’s hand.

Picture 4: Handshake is really similar to this gesture

Use this gesture to reveal something your audience wanted to discover during your speech. For example, a conclusion of a story that solves the problem or a secret information people were not aware of.

You can also apply this to a point, without showing the fingers, which is generally considered extremely rude.

Alas, you converted my simple gestures into quantum physics: What should I do with my hands?

Come on, it’s not that difficult 🙂

You need to see your hands as the integral part of your speech, so feel free to do what comes naturally. Gestures are very important, but it’s totally wrong getting too choreographed with them.

Many people lack a strategic approach to this, resembling the ignorant pantomiming person.

Still not sure how to use my hands properly?

Let’s arrange a free call, to fix those gestures so you look and feel confident when presenting in public.

Schedule a free 20 min consulting call