Move your hands

Move your hands

When we prepare to speak in public, we analyze our audience, determine our purpose, and create the talk itself.  And, if time allows and the stakes are high, we practice.

Initially, most presenters are focused on the content and getting it just right.  The most engaging presenters know that their body language is one of the most important parts of their presentation.  These presenters take time to connect their head and their heart.

Let’s just say that you’re telling your team that the merger is going to be amazing, but you look like a parent who’s waiting for their teenager to arrive home from their first solo drive.  Your message is not going to have the desired effect.  You’ve got to deliver that message like you mean it.

When our hands move, our face and voice follow.  I often ask people I’m coaching to insert a specific gesture in the first sentence of their talk. This can be something as simple as using an open hand gesture to indicate “you”  when saying, “Thank you for inviting me to speak today.”

The first time they gesture this way might feel ridiculous.  And we usually enjoy a good laugh.  We’re aiming for authentic and this is not.  So why would I suggest it?  I call it a jump-start gesture. Like turning on an engine, it revs up your energy.  The beauty is that once a speaker’s hands move, you can see them connect with their story.  Their face and eyes light up and their voice carries and varies.

Over the years, I’ve noticed something remarkable happens when I ask a speaker to retell a part of their story with a gesture.  They inevitably offer more and richer details.  They seem to be reliving the story as they tell it and the story becomes more interesting.

This is because using gestures has an impact on your brain activity. This research from the University of Alberta says “there is a connection between language and memory access and gesturing.”

So, if you want to engage your audience, remember details, and come across as authentic, know your content and get those hands moving!

Contact us at, if you’d like to talk about how we can help you communicate better and contribute greater value. 



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