The Best Advice Out There on Hand Gestures - Deepstash
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Hand gestures when you present

Hand gestures when you present

Non-verbal gestures are classified as emblems and illustrators.

  • Emblems are gestures that stand in for words, such as a "thumbs up" gesture and the "shhh" gesture. We can quickly know what they mean without much context.
  • Illustrators are gestures that accompany words. They are intimately related to the moment with speech, phrasing, content, voice, and so on.

When you give a presentation, the hand gestures you are using are illustrators. Your hand motions combined with your speech are part of the communication process.


112 reads

Speak with your palms up

Speak with your palms up

Palms are deeply connected to our brains and perceptions of others. When presenters want to gain the attention and trust of their audience, they speak with their palms facing up.

Palms up or open body posture communicates that the speaker is trustworthy and vulnerable.


117 reads

Use gestures when you get stuck

Gestures are strongly connected to our thought process. When a speaker uses gestures, it benefits the audience and the speaker.

Illustrators help the speaker past some awkwardness in speech or thought. It assists in the flow of his ideas while reducing filler words like "uh".


118 reads

The audience loves gestures

The audience loves gestures

The most popular TED talk presenters use more gestures. For example, less popular talks have about 272 hand gestures, while the most popular talks have around 465 hand gestures.

When charismatic leaders use hand gestures, the brain gets two explanations in one, and the brain loves that because gestures add to the meaning. Gestures are pull cues. When a presenter uses hand gestures, your attention is pulled and captured by the person.


83 reads

Keep hand gestures natural

When you present, keep your gestures natural. When your gestures are contrived, they won't sit well with the audience.

Use gestures that you would use in everyday conversation. However, use them with more intention and try and do them in the strike zone (the area between your shoulders and the top of your hips.) Anything bigger can get distracting. Also, ensure to mix up gestures and avoid repetitive motion.


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