Public Speaking Lab

What to Do With Your Hands When You Are Presenting?

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a presentation, only to realize that your hands seem to have a mind of their own, repeating the same gestures like a broken record? It’s a common struggle we all face when speaking in public, and it can be distracting, not just to you but also to your audience. So what should you do?

Here’s the fundamental secret that many won’t readily share with you: your hands are only distracting when they fall into a monotonous pattern. In reality, we use our hands naturally and constantly, but we do so in a variety of ways. It’s the repetition that causes the distraction. So, how should you use your hands? How can you incorporate that much-needed diversity into your gestures? The answer lies in a natural and authentic approach.

The key to appearing confident and natural when using your hands during a presentation is simple: embrace variety. 

An Exercise for Natural Gestures

So, here’s a fun and practical exercise to enhance your hand movements during a presentation. The next time you practice your speech or pitch, try this: Begin by talking on one side of your body with both hands, emphasizing your points with gestures. Then, gracefully switch to the other side and continue talking with both hands. Mix it up by talking on one side with just one hand, and then, switch back to using both hands to underscore key ideas. Continue alternating between one hand and the other, sometimes using both simultaneously.

This variety in your hand motions mimics what we naturally do in conversations when we’re passionate about a topic or eager to express our thoughts. The goal is to avoid a repetitive, mechanical movement pattern that can be distracting and instead infuse a more organic and engaging element into your presentation.

Mastering hand movements in your presentation doesn’t require complex choreography. Instead, it’s all about embracing the natural and varied way we use our hands in everyday conversations. By applying this simple yet effective exercise, you can captivate your audience, exude confidence, and add an engaging touch to your delivery.