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Hand gestures when public speaking (part 5)

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 five 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 sending the right signals?

DO position your hands to send the right subtle message.

DON’T confuse your audience by sending the wrong subtle message with your hands.

Here’s a for-instance:

If you need the audience to like you, trust you and believe wholeheartedly that you have an open mind about a topic, make sure these people see the palms of your hands. Why? Because if you unintentionally show the audience the back of your hands, you’re introducing a divide or a barrier that will subtly block them from believing that you truly want to hear and consider what they have to say.

On the other hand, if you are absolutely certain about something — there is no room for debate — be clear about that by “pressing” your palms in a subtle, downward motion as you state that certainty. Palms that move downward mean “case closed” and send that subtle but convincing message to the 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.