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Hand gestures when public speaking (part 3)

Your hands can speak volumes. But are they saying what you want them to say?

Have you ever thought about how your hands — and what you do with them when you speak in front of an audience — can give more meaning to your message?
Your hands are an important tool in your speaker’s toolbox. This is part three of a five-part series about hand gestures when public speaking that will help you discern what to do — and what not to do — the next time you speak.


Are your hands moving your message forward (or backward)?

DO use your hands in a manner that conveys confidence.

DON’T wring your hands because that tells the audience (rightly or wrongly) that you are nervous or worried and possibly unsure about what you are saying.

You can use your hands to confidently punctuate a definite point you are trying to make.

For example, if you are stating in no uncertain terms that “this is the truth,” use your hands in a downward striking motion to nail your unwavering belief of that truth.

This technique is effective when used — but not overused. So reserve it for only the most important couple of points or truths.

If you punctuate every point you’re making along the way, you’ll not only lose credibility but also begin to confuse or even bore your audience.


Are you preparing now for an upcoming speaking engagement? If so, consider what you’ll do with your hands. Half the battle is simply being aware that your hands can speak and then thinking deliberately about precisely what you want your hands to say.
If you can use your hands in purposeful ways that enhance your message with more meaning, you will more successful in winning over your audience the next time you speak in public.