Spoken Language vs Body Language
“What should I do with my hands?”
This is a very commonly asked question with regards to presenting. When we stand up to present in front of any number of people, whether it be 5 or 500, the majority of us find ourselves feeling exposed and self-conscious. These feelings add to the anxiety that we may have already built up. The best way to overcome this is to be self-aware and remember that we are represented not only by our spoken language but also by our body language.
Use Your Hands
Hand gestures are an essential to looking and feeling confident when presenting. Hand movements occur naturally when we talk casually among our friends, so why not allow this to happen when we present too?
Below are some of my top tips for using your hands when presenting:
1. Keep your hands seen
Open arms and palms create an honest and friendly feel to your body language so take those hands out from your pockets or behind your back and open up to your audience.
2. The bigger the better
Broader and higher hand gestures not only allows everyone in a large audience to see them more easily, but also draws the eyes of the audience to you and minimises the risk of distraction.
3. Develop a gesture vocabulary
By having a number of different hand gesture options lined up and practiced it can aid us in both creating smooth body language and helps us to minimise repetition.
4. Be yourself
Allow your personality to come across in your body language as it does in your spoken language. None of us are robots so try and be natural and allow your body language to flow alongside your speech.
Allow yourself time to rest your hands every so often between gestures. This will give both you and your audience a break and you will grab their attention once again when you make another hand gesture.