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How to Use Hand Gestures in a Presentation

How to Use Hand Gestures in a Presentation

In my line of work, I give presentations to my team members quite often. As I give my presentations, I am always very aware of my audience and their interest level. If they look bored, then I need to adjust myself accordingly and win back their attention.

I want to keep them engaged and interested in what I’m saying, and I find that hand gestures are a powerful way to raise excitement and keep my audience’s attention. Effective gestures help to build trust, and convey my ideas more clearly.

Communication is 93% non-verbal and only 7% verbal, while all the rest is expressed through body language. Gesturing actually makes people pay closer attention to the acoustics of speech. When they see a gesture, they expect that there is dialogue to go along with it.

The usage of gestures along with speech varies depending on culture. Many people ask me if I’m a little bit Italian because I “talk with my hands.” The Italian language itself is very expressive and poetic, and the hand gestures make it even more so. The more emphasis that we put on our speech, the more expressive our gestures become.

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So while you are rehearsing your speech, be sure to rehearse your hand gestures as well. Don’t link your hands behind your back as you speak, it will make you seem rigid and your audience will lose interest.

Here are some helpful hand gestures to keep your audience engaged.

Palms Up Instead of Down.

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    Keeping your palms up and open indicates that you are being open and honest. This will invite your audience in, and make them feel comfortable. By keeping your palms down, without even realizing it, your tone is slightly threatening and directs the audience to be submissive.

    Research finds that lecturers who mainly used the palm up gesture received 84% positive feedback while those who used the palm down gesture only received 52% of positive feedback when they do the exactly the same presentation.[1]

    Hand “steepling” instead of hand “wringing”.

      Hand steepling was a common practice used by Steve Jobs during his presentations to convey a message of confidence and wisdom. Notice how he never used hand “wringing” because it comes across as fidgety and nervous behavior. Hand steepling can be used effectively during intermediate moments, such as when you are thinking or switching topics.

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      Use the “OK” gesture instead of pointing

      Squeeze your index finger against your thumb to make the “OK” gesture. Got it? This motion is authoritative, but not aggressive as pointing would be.

        We took a survey from an audience on which hand gesture they prefer. The audience reported that the individual who used the “OK” signal came across as thoughtful, goal-oriented, and focused. Whereas the individual who used pointing gestures came across to the audience as aggressive, belligerent, and rude. This put off the audience, and in response they paid less attention to the speech.

        Don’t put your hands on your hips, or joined behind your back

        How do you think you look with your hands on your hips? A bit like a parent scolding a child? That’s how it appears to your audience. This stance makes you seem less professional, and your audience will feel that you are trying to dictate them instead of guide them.

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        As I’d previously mentioned, putting your hands behind your back makes you look awkward and serious. Your hands are your tools! Use them! Communicate your message more effectively to show specific numbers with your fingers, or length with your hands. Your audience will be engaged and pay closer attention to your point.

        Use “side-palm” to persuade your audience

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          Hold your hand out in handshake position. This gesture is what is known as “side-palm.” You are literally reaching out to your audience, and it will make them want to meet you half way. Since you have their undivided attention, it will be much easier to persuade them.

          Practice these helpful gestures to engage your audience and politely enforce your authority. Having a good speech just isn’t enough. With these gestures, you will effectively get your point across without turning off your audience.

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          Brian Lee

          Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

          100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier 10 Best New Products That People Don’t Know About Book Summary: The Power of Habit in 2 Minutes 1 Minute Book Summary: How To Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less 2 Minutes Book Summary: Thinking Fast and Slow

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          Last Updated on May 24, 2019

          How to Be Productive at Home and Make Every Day a Productive Day

          How to Be Productive at Home and Make Every Day a Productive Day

          If you’ve ever wondered how to be productive at home or how you could possibly have a more productive day, look no further.

          Below you’ll find six easy tips that will help you make the most out of your time:

          1. Create a Good Morning Routine

          One of the best ways to start your day is to get up early and eat a healthy breakfast.

          CEOs and other successful people have similar morning routines, which include exercising and quickly scanning their inboxes to find the most urgent tasks.[1]

          You can also try writing first thing in the morning to warm up your brain[2] (750 words will help with that). But no matter what you choose to do, remember to create good morning habits so that you can have a more productive day.

          If you aren’t sure how to make morning routine work for you, this guide will help you:

          The Ultimate Morning Routine to Make You Happy And Productive All Day

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          2. Prioritize

          Sometimes we can’t have a productive day because we just don’t know where to start. When that’s the case, the most simple solution is to list everything you need to get accomplished, then prioritize these tasks based on importance and urgency.

          Week Plan is a simple web app that will help you prioritize your week using the Covey time management grid. Here’s an example of it:[3]

            If you get the most pressing and important items done first, you will be able to be more productive while keeping stress levels down.

            Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, also has great advice on how to prioritize. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

            How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

            3. Focus on One Thing at a Time

            One of the biggest killers of productivity is distractions. Whether it be noise or thoughts or games, distractions are a barrier to any productive day. That’s why it’s important to know where and when you work best.

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            Need a little background noise to keep you on track? Try working in a coffee shop.

            Can’t stand to hear even the ticking of a clock while writing? Go to a library and put in your headphones.

            Don’t be afraid to utilize technology to make the best of your time. Sites like [email protected] and Simply Noise can help keep you focused and productive all day long.

            And here’s some great apps to help you focus: 10 Online Apps for Better Focus

            4. Take Breaks

            Focusing, however, can drain a lot of energy and too much of it at once can quickly turn your productive day unproductive.

            To reduce mental fatigue while staying on task, try using the Pomodoro Technique. It requires working on a task for 25 minutes, then taking a short break before another 25 minute session.

            After four “pomodoro sessions,” be sure to take a longer break to rest and reflect.

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            I like to work in 25 and 5 minute increments, but you should find out what works best for you.

            5. Manage Your Time Effectively

            A learning strategies consultant once told me that there is no such thing as free time, only unstructured time.

            How do you know when exactly you have free time?

            By using the RescueTime app, you can see when you have free time, when you are productive, and when you actually waste time.

            With this data, you can better plan out your day and keep yourself on track.

            Moreover, you can increase the quality of low-intensity time. For example, reading the news while exercising or listening to meeting notes while cooking. Many of the mundane tasks we routinely accomplish can be paired with other tasks that lead to an overall more productive day.

            A bonus tip, even your real free time can be used productively, find out how:

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            20 Productive Ways to Use Your Free Time

            6. Celebrate and Reflect

            No matter how you execute a productive day, make sure to take time and celebrate what you’ve accomplished. It’s important to reward yourself so that you can continue doing great work. Plus, a reward system is an incredible motivator.

            Additionally, you should reflect on your day in order to find out what worked and what didn’t. Reflection not only increases future productivity, but also gives your brain time to decompress and de-stress.

            Try these 10 questions for daily self reflection.

            More Articles About Daily Productivity

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

            Reference

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