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Your Mom Told You Not To Talk With Your Hands, But Gestures Are OK!
By Marjorie Brody   Printer Friendly Version

Don't be afraid to use gestures the next time you make a presentation. I don't mean wild gestures that don't relate to what you are saying. I'm talking about gestures that help make your point, that can make you feel more relaxed, reinforce your message and make your presentation more interesting to watch. Dynamic speakers have learned how gestures can add impact to a presentation. But don't overdo it, use gestures sparingly and follow these seven guidelines:

1. Keep gestures above the waistline. Low gestures are hard to see and indicate low demeanor.

Open up your arms to the size of the audience. Embrace your audience. Keep your arms between your waist and shoulders.

When your not using your arms, drop them at your side. If you can feel your fingertips at your thighs, that's a good measure of where you arms would be when you're not making an active point.

Avoid quick and jerky gestures. They may make you appear nervous. Hold your gestures longer than you would in normal conversation.

Vary gestures. Switch from hand to hand, and at others times use both or no hands.

Use gestures to reinforce a message or make a point. If making three points, don't hold up four fingers!

Keep hands open and fingers together. Avoid pointing a finger, and fists may convey a threatening message.

Vary your approach until you find what works best for you. Then use those gestures, refine them until they come naturally to you, and add to them as you come across others that work as well or better.

Article copyright© Brody Communications Ltd. 1999

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