Suddenly the appendages on the end of your arms become a major distraction … not necessarily to the audience but to you, the speaker.
I think a part of it is your hands and feet feel like the last elements of your body that you can monitor so when full of nervous energy they are at their most difficult to control.
And, when presenting you tend to be more focussed on yourself and what you are doing, so therefore, you are more aware of your hands.
Whatever the reason you are not alone if you worry about what to do with your hands … when presenting.
Funnily enough no-one ever asks me what to do with their hands when they are having a chat with friends, talking over the phone or sitting in a café.
It’s all about controlling your nerves and your focus. When you are out with friends you don’t suddenly think … “oh no … what do I do with my hands!” You might use your hands to highlight what you are saying or they may be sitting next to you or on your lap … but you aren’t focussed on them.
So what should you do with your hands?
Try to ignore them!
They will do what they do and if you are someone who likes to gesticulate then let them do that, if you don’t then that’s OK too.
One tip I use when I start worrying too much about how I look or how I am coming across when presenting, is to immediately focus on something or someone else in the room. A mental nod to the size of the clock, number of doors or suit someone is wearing. This distracts me sufficiently ‘from me’ and allows me to then return to what I am saying rather than what I’m doing.
Try it and let me know how you get on in the comments below.