What do you do with your hands when you’re speaking? The gestures you use can have a huge impact on the image you project to others. Many people are uncomfortable using their hands when they speak and fall into default positions that limit their movement. This can make you appear stiff, insecure, or uncomfortable. Learning to use the right gestures can help you project confidence and can make your message more effective.
Everyone has their own amount of gesturing that comes naturally to them depending on their personality and personal communication style. My goal as a communication coach is not to give all my clients a specific set of gestures so that everyone looks the same; I help each person to modify their personal gesture style to be as effective as possible in projecting confidence and professional credibility. Here are some ways you can make the most out of your gestures:
Highlight key points: Whether speaking to a crowd or simply one-on-one with a colleague or client, use subtle, but well-defined gestures to emphasize important points. Gesturing will make these moments more memorable for your audience and will drive the point home.
Don’t get stuck: While moving constantly can be distracting, getting stuck in a fixed posture can make your speech boring and difficult to focus on. Some positions, like folding your arms, or sitting with your chin in your hands, should be avoided altogether. These positions can make you seem closed off, passive, or bored. Use gestures as a way to keep yourself from settling into a fixed posture and keep your audience engaged.
Less is more when listening: Many people have a habit of fidgeting while listening: playing with jewelry, jiggling a leg, or toying with items on their desk. This can make you seem disinterested or nervous. Subtle, interactive movements, like nodding or leaning forward can be helpful, but in general, you should keep your hands and body relatively still and focus on your conversation partner.
Want to learn more? Click on the following link to hear me give some additional tips and strategies for incorporating gesture into your communication:
If you have questions or are interested in improving your communication skills, give me a call at 212-308-7725 or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!
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