Learn more about communication with this collection
How to adapt to different speaking situations
How to engage with an audience
How to use body language effectively
Non-verbal gestures are classified as emblems and illustrators.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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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