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Gesturing Your Way to a Better Presentation

“Gesturing Your Way to a Better Presentation”

Too often, public-speaking advice focuses on crafting the message and speaking clearly. One area often overlooked is body language and gesturing. This article furnishes solid recommendations to make your gestures more effective.

Next time you make a presentation, don’t be afraid to gesture. Gesturing can make you more relaxed, reinforce your message to the audience and make a presentation more interesting to watch. Rarely do your hear a dynamic speaker who sounds boring, and conversely, rarely do you see a dynamic speaker who stands motionless. But don’t overdo it. Use gestures sparingly, while keeping these points in mind:

  1. Keep gestures above the waistline. Low gestures are hard to see and indicate a low demeanor.
  2. Open up your arms to the size of the audience. Embrace your audience. Keep your arms between your waist and shoulders.
  3. When not using your arms, drop them at your side. If you feel your finger tips on your thighs, you will be OK.
  4. Avoid quick and jerky gestures, they make you appear nervous. Hold your gestures longer than you would in normal conversation.
  5. Vary gestures, switch from hand to hand, and at other times use both or no hands.
  6. Use gestures to reinforce a message. If mentioning three problems, don’t hold up four fingers.
  7. Keep hands open and fingers together. Avoid pointed fingers and fists that pose a more threatening message.

About the Writer: Marjorie Brody is president of Brody Communications and author of "Power Presentations: How to Connect with Your Audience and Sell Your Ideas," released by John Wiley and Sons.

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