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2 of 10 : Public Speaking – They don’t practice their hand gestures to add depth to their message.

Mistakes & Observations Public Speakers make at Corporate Conferences
(and how to avoid them) cont… part 2 of 10

Only a few speakers get hand gestures right, but we can all practice to be better. Often gestures distract from the message instead of adding. Ideally gestures should be helping the audience visualise what we are explaining. They are supposed to be the brushes painting a picture in the minds-eye of the audience.

When we get nervous we tend to fidget, consequently it may be best to sometimes keep our hands fairly still and just use them when highlighting a significant point. It is a good idea to practice them, so they feel natural.

Big is better

In addition to actually using hand gestures to add to our message, we also need to be aware that the stage environment is different at a large conference. With large audiences of over 1000 delegates, speakers on stage will appear quite small to most of the audience. Hence use appropriate big gestures to fill the space around you particularly at the start and end. They have to be comfortable to your personality. It’s not enough to rely on the big video screens and close ups from video cameras.

Make sure you remember to “reverse”

As a final quick note on gestures, few people remember (or even know) that they should reverse their gestures for the audience. Moving your hands from left to right (i.e. when demonstrating progressing forward) is opposite to your audience. “Their” left to right is actually “your” right to left. It is another simple change that most people will not notice consciously, but they will understand your message more easily because you will be creating more rapport with them.

Matthew Broomhead

Permanent link to this article: https://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/2-of-10-public-speaking-they-dont-practice-their-hand-gestures-to-add-depth-to-their-message/