Join Jeff Ansell for an in-depth discussion in this video Talking with your hands, part of Communicating with Confidence.
- People ask me so many times what they should do with their hands when they speak. Should they use their hands? Should they not use their hands? Recently, I had a client tell me it's easier to know what to do with your hands when you make them go away. And that's why some people don't use their hands when they speak, and just leave them dangling by their side. Some people put their hands in their pocket, some stand in the Prince Phillip pose, some stand in the fig-leaf pose. So let's ask and answer the question, Is it okay to use your hands when you speak? I'm going to present now, and I'll try to be as interesting as I can be.
I'm going to breathe, I'll pause, I'll have good eye contact, but I will not use my hands. More important than talking is listening. But as we do so, are we skilled listeners? Active listening makes a difference. Or, more important than talking is listening. But as we do so, are we skilled listeners? Active listening makes a difference. See the difference? Talking with your hands comes naturally to us and offers so many benefits.
First of all, the hands help us think. What's that word? Toaster. Using your hands can make you more interesting to look at. And after all, if 55% of the way people determine your attitudes and emotions is through the visual, body language, give 'em something to look at. Talking with your hands makes your voice more interesting. You see the hand bone is connected to the voice bone. The more you use your hands, the stronger your voice, the more inflection in your voice.
The more inflection in your voice, the easier it is for people to hear you and your messages. And this is especially important for those who tend to speak softly, or speak in a monotone. Talking with your hands makes you look like a leader. Tell me now if I look like a leader. Today I want to answer the question, of what the future holds for our company? Pretty wishy-washy, huh? Using my hands in this lackadaisical manner makes me look as if I lack confidence.
I can be brilliant at what I do, but I'm using my hands in such a weak way, you've pegged me as indecisive. Now tell me if I look like a leader. Today, I want to answer the question of what the future holds for our company. Look like a leader? You bet. Simply use your hands in a firm, purposeful manner as if to convey, I meant to say that. And unless you intend it, try not to clench your fists, because that can make us look nervous, angry, or upset.
One more benefit to using our hands when we talk, it can help us stay calm. You see, when we get nervous, our bodies tend to constrict, we become smaller. Often with our hands at our side. And if we're nervous, and we're standing like this while we're speaking, all our anxiety is ricocheting from head to toe without escape. Using our hands when we talk helps us get rid of our anxiety. If we clench our fists though, it can make us appear nervous or upset. When we use our hands in a strong, purposeful fashion, we're flicking away the anxiety.
Keep your fingers open and slightly spread, with a slight curl, and use them in a deliberate manner that gives emphasis to what you say as you say it.
- Organizing your thoughts
- Speaking slowly, naturally, and confidently
- Breathing properly
- Using your body to reinforce speech
- Managing facial expressions
- Handling nervousness
- Integrating voice modulation, eye contact, and hand gestures into a powerful and engaging communication style