Effective Presentations – What to Do With Your Hands

Many people ask me what to do with their hands when they are making their presentations. Let me offer some suggestions on how to make best use of your hands

1) Use your hands to invite the audience to accept your point

This is done by keeping your hands open and your palm pointing upwards. This is more effective if you only use one hand. Remember, you are only inviting them, not begging for forgiveness

2) Keep Your Fingers Open

This is particularly valid when you let your hand hang by your side. This position looks more natural

3) Avoid putting your hand in your pocket

If you do, you may be tempted to fiddle with loose coins. The interesting rhythms this action generates can be very distracting

4) Avoid closing your hands firmly

This projects a protective or aggressive image, which can be the result of lack of confidence. On the other hand, leaving both your hands dangling loosely, like two dead fish by your sides, maybe interpreted as lack of enthusiasm

5) Avoid holding your hands in front of you or rubbing them

This forms a protective barrier which separates you from the audience. It is also another way of saying: “I am telling you a lie and I am too scared.”

6) Use a pointer to keep one of your hands busy

Use it to help the audience focus on specific points on your visual aid

7) Avoid pointing with one finger at the audience

Politicians often do this when delivering aggressive speeches, or giving out warnings. Avoid this is a wise choice, because it can make the audience feel threatened or even offended

8) Co-ordinate your hand movements with your words

Whatever you decide to do with your hands, it is very important to time your movements with your words, otherwise they will look mechanical. The movement also has to be relevant to what you are saying. There is nothing more irritating and maybe even hilarious than making a point, then following it with the relevant gesture a few seconds later.

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