This article is the first in the series called “what to do to be a good speaker”. The articles are going to speak about different aspects of what is a good thing to do and what isn't while making a public speech.
This article is going to speak about the hand gestures.
Everyone is using hand gestures while speaking in the every day life. The gestures that we already use are those, that we should use while having a public speech. But there should be some modifications to what we do.
But before we go there, we should ask the question, why do we want to make gestures. It will make your speech more interesting, because if you hold still while having a speech, well why do we need a real person up there? Just bring a recording and play it. The other a bit more serious thing is, that you need to support your words with the body language. Some of the research has shown, that 70-80% of the message that the audience receives, is the non-verbal message, and a big part of it comes from the gestures. So don't forget to send the biggest part of your speech with your hands.
The gestures that we use are normally done in the narrow place in front of our stomach. They are ok, but if we have a public speech, the gestures are not going to be visible enough. That is why we have to lift them, so that we make them in front of our lunges. The other thing is, that we should make them a bit wider, that means that we should use more space in front of us.
The other thing that we should think about while having a public speech is that you should use different gestures. If you are going to use only a coupe of gestures, than the audience will get bored with the gestures and you will not be able to transmit your message efficiently.
Let me say, that there is nothing wrong, is there is a time, when you do not use gestures. You don't have to look like a bird that is trying to fly, because you make gestures all the time. Your gestures should say the same as your words do. If you are excited any so is your speech, you should use more gestures. If not, don't gesture that much.
There are a couple of things, that you should not do with your hand. Don't touch your head or face, or scratch it. It stops the transmittion of the sound, and the audience will not be able to hear you clearly and the won't be able to see the expression on your face, so again the message won't be transmitted in the best way.
Don't and I mean don't, like ever, take a pen with you when you go and start speaking. You will play with the pen and this is going to distract your audience, and they won't pay attention as much as you would like them to. You will have the pen in your hand, you will swirl it around, or you will drop it etc. And next to all the distraction it will make you look nervous. And even if you are, you shouldn't show that to the audience.
The other thing that you should leave on the desk are the papers, if you have any. And you should have something written down, so that if you get lost, you can remember fast, what is the next thing that you should say. But don't hold the papers in your hand. You will make less gestures, if you will hold the paper in your hand and we don't want that. If you hold your papers in your hand, the shaking of your hands will be more visible to your audience, and they should not know, that you are nervous.