What NOT to do with your hands when speaking.

Girl twirling hairI’ve talked previously about what to do with your hands when presenting so today I thought I’d discuss what NOT to do with them!

We “leak” our emotions in our gestures, fiddles and fidgets telling those around us how we feel via our body language, and usually completely unconsciously! I’m sure you have been irritated by someone clicking a retractable pen or tapping their pen on the table top and when you comment they are completely unaware of what they are doing.

What about those who twirl or push back their hair or who constantly stroke their own arm? All signals that the speaker may not feel as confident as they would like to, and all signals that they are likely unaware of.

Get a friend to video you on their phone and see if you are a “fiddler”. You need to know as those fidgets and fiddles are being read by your audience and undermining your authority.

If you are a hugger or stroker then generally you will be perceived as unsure or in need of reassurance whereas if you fiddle with hair, jewellery or what’s in your pockets you will come across as nervous or agitated.

And if you are only stroking your arm because it is sore, your audience won’t know that, so the perception will be that you are scared … unless you tell them upfront!

I know I have said before not to worry about your hands when presenting BUT if you are unconsciously leaking your emotions then you need to train yourself not to. If you can, keep your hands at your side (imagine you are holding a roll of 10p’s in each hand). And if you really can’t, then hold them lightly in front of you.

Try it and let me know how you get on.

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