What will I do with my hands?

What will I do with my hands? This is an area of speech delivery that many people struggle with. Some techniques that will distract your audience are

a death grip on the lectern
the prayer for divine intervention
lets make sure my fly is closed hand position
playing with my watch/ bracelet is so much fun
these pockets are good places to hide my hands

Several internationally recognized studies have shown that we absorb a lot of any message visually. When the visual message is nervousness yet the verbal message is about confidence, the audience will believe the visual.

So what do we do about it?

Learn and practice a safe resting position
Let your hands hang by your sides loosely. When you are not using them deliberately, leave them here. This will allow you to bring your hands up and out to form gestures more easily, and as your confidence grows during your presentation you will do so almost automatically. If you also stand with your feet approximately under your shoulders, your body will be balanced and you will feel relaxed.

Practice and use the “Open” gesture
Put your hands out towards the audience with your arms open and your hands facing upwards. This is a visual message which the audience will absorb without thinking of it.

Use the 1-2-3 speech structure and illustrate it with your fingers, holding up your hand
My first point is My second point is My third and final point is Of course after you have made each point, you will drop your hand back to resting position until your next gesture.

Practise in front of a full length mirror
Observe yourself keenly. This is what the audience sees. Work to make it what you want them to see. Try out different ways of using your hands and arms to clarify your message and emphasise the main points.

Hand gestures are one aspect of your presentation
Your eyes, facial expression, stance and props all add to the visual message, but your hands are an effective way to add power to your presentation.

Visit a Toastmasters meeting!  Toastmasters clubs meet in the morning, during lunchtime or in the evening in communities and corporations all over the world.

Find a club near you.