The most frequent question that I get when I am teaching my public speaking course or working with a coaching client who wants to improve their body language in their speeches is, “What do I do with my hands?” Because the hands come out from the heart they symbolically show our true feelings. Nervousness and anxiety come in our feet and hands. We don’t want our fear to show, so we want to hide our hands. Most of the frustration comes at the beginning of the speech when you are the most nervous. You may want to plan specific gestures to use at that time. I threw my hands up in the air at the beginning of one of my speeches just to get the excitement up and out of my body. The location of your hands, also, affects your nonverbal behavior. Put your hands at your sides and your energy goes down and your voice lowers and can become more monotone and you tend to move and show fewer facial expressions. Bring your hands to the level of your waist and you become calm and centered, bring your hands up high to the level of your upper chest or above and your voice goes up and you become more energized and animated. Change the location of your hands depending on your emotional message.
What do I do with my hands when I give a speech?
The energy impact of gestures.
Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at http://PattiWood.net. Also check out the body language quiz on her YouTube Channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.