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The 4 Public Speaking Gestures And How To Use Them




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Using gestures, when give a public speech is a very important part of your presentation. If you fail to use gestures properly and you do awkward gestures throughout your presentations,you are probably going to distract your audience and you are not going to get the impact that you want when you presenting.

Here are 4 public speaking gestures you can use as well as how to use them effectively during your presentation.

4 Public Speaking Gestures

I am going to walk you through the four gestures that you can use in your presentations and so you can become more powerful and effective public speaker.

Public Speaking Gestures

1. Descriptive Gestures

These are gestures that we use to describe something or a situation .We might draw comparisons between something that’s really big and something that’s really small or we might use it to contrast certain items or to depict the size.

A great example that I am taking from toastmasters is if you are using a metaphor saying something is “like a tiny little bird” and you hold your hand out in a cup shape. You are reinstating the metaphor of the bird and also implying size being small.

You can also use descriptive gestures to show shapes. You can also talk about movement, you can talk about location and you can even use gestures when discussing numbers.

So descriptive gestures are very helpful because when we are speaking all we have is our words. All we have is what comes out of our mouth and by using descriptive gestures we can actually improve the impact of our public speech and improve the comprehension of our audience.

This means our message gets across more effectively.

2. Emphatic (Emotional) Gestures

Emphatic gestures are like emotional gestures. So if we are sad we could slump down and talk about sad things. If we are angry we could put our fists together and make an angry face.

We can use these gestures to symbolise the feelings that we have.

Emphatic gestures help us to appear more genuine. When you are talking about and you are using angry gestures it actually makes you seem more genuine.

The audience will be thingking “yes he were angry. I can see it in his body language.”

3. Suggestive Gestures

These are gestures that depict moods or expressions. For example: you could say I welcome you in with open arms whilst opening your arms.

4. Prompting Gestures

These are the ones that prompt the audience to do something.

Tony Robbins does this really well. He might say “raise your hand if you want to earn million dollar this year” and he will raise his hands as he is telling people to raise their hands.

Audience members are more likely to do it if they see you doing it first.

Or you could say “let’s jump up and down on the spot”. So you can see in the video I am jumping and so it encourages audience or prompts them to do something that you want to do.

So there you have the four gestures which we can use while giving a presentation and there are some ideas on how you can use them.

Using Public Speaking Hand Gestures Effectively

When it comes down to using them effectively I compiled the tips here. There I have 5 tips on how you can use them more effectively.

At the end of the day it comes down to preparation and practice and being natural in your gestures.

Don’t try and force yourself if you don’t feel natural. If it is flowing like it does in everyday conversation with your friends or family then that’s a good sign that they’re going to be hand gestures that will work.

Try to avoid those hand gestures that just really take away from your presentation and don’t support what you are presenting.

So I guess the rule is – If the gestures are supporting what you are saying then they are probably going to be great. If they take you away from what you are saying (like scratching your face, adjusting clothes or playing with your ring finger) then they are probably taking away from your presentation and you don’t want to use them.




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