Amy Carroll » Speaking Tips » Delivery: Using Hand Gestures to Enhance Your Message

Delivery: Using Hand Gestures to Enhance Your Message

As we continue addressing what you can do on the platform to ensure a great delivery, (catch the first two posts here and here) let’s talk about the next area:

Hand gestures.

Oh boy! Here we have speakers at both ends of the spectrum.

Some use no hand gestures at all and appear that their arms are super-glued to their sides.

Others flap their arms and flail about to the point where you think they just might take off in flight!

Let’s find a happy medium. Here’s how:

~ Vary between using your arms and naturally resting them at your side. Just as in real life when we talk with our hands and sometimes leave them still, do the same when speaking up front.

~Make it natural. If your hands are needed to make a point pop, use them. If not, leave them alone. Again, do this naturally.

~ If you are trying to act out a conversation or part of the talk where you are telling a story, practice it in front of the mirror. If you don’t know where you are going with your hands during an animated part of the message, it can seem fake and forced.

~ Flow, don’t chop. Abrupt and jerking motions with your hands can seem choppy and awkward. Make them flowing instead (unless of course you are trying to convey a forceful or abrupt pint)

~ One or two will do. At times, use one hand to point or gesture. Then, use the opposite hand. Other times use both. Mix it up to keep it from being predictable and boring.

~ Where do they go? Your hands don’t have to always be in the air or at your sides, there are other places they may go. One on your hip with the other wagging a finger to make a point. On your head to express unbelief. On our knees as you bend down to mimic talking to a child. One next to your cheek to showcase God whispering to us. Or even clasped in front of you begging something of the audience.

With a little creativity and practice, your hand gestures can add to your message rather than detract. Your audience will thank you!


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  1. Great advise. I hadn’t realized how many more things there are to do with my hands besides “White Knuckling” the podium.

  2. I hadn’t even considered what I do with my hands. I love to use my hands to illustrate actions but I’ll try to pay attention so I don’t do this too often. Great tip about the mirror. I’m going to give that one a try! 😀