Using gestures in public speaking.

If you were told, “use your hand gestures more,” you might think of suddenly flailing your arms around while delivering a speech. If you get this incorrect mental picture and are unsure what to with your hands, think about this: use your hands to punctuate your speech. Just like commas, periods and exclamations punctuate written words, an open hand movement; a two handed motion or a point with the finger can break up the speech and help show where you are going. A good way to think about using your hands is to picture the “T zone” or power zone. This means to keep your hands in a line going up and down from chin to navel, and across from the shoulders. This will make the gestures powerful without being distracting. When trying to incorporate your hands into your speech, the most important part is to avoid fidgeting with your clothing or putting your hands in your pockets. Part of this is remembering to relax, and don’t try anything new with your hands that you have not practiced and are comfortable with. Become aware of how you use your hands when talking to your friends or family, and try to incorporate these to signify important ideas when delivering your speech.

Posted in Communication Assessment and Learning Lab News