55 percent of communication is visual. Think about that. People are getting more of your message from your eye contact and body language, than they are your words. So your gestures are very important in public speaking.
Your gestures can communicate authority, passion and confidence; or they can communicate insecurity, disinterest and low self esteem. It’s really your choice which you get to convey.
You can choose your gestures to emphasize your points and better communicate your message. Although your words and how you say them are important … you need to think about how you’ll use your body to bring those message home, too.
Here are three pointers:
Avoid white-knuckling it
Many people will stand up behind a podium or lectern and grip it like they were hanging on for dear life. In most cases, this communicates nervousness and will undermine your message.
Don’t be a stick
Some newer speakers will leave their hands at their sides or in their pockets and avoid moving them at all. People naturally move their arms and hands when they talk (even when they aren’t of Mediterranean descent!) … so when you don’t, it stand out and distracts from your message.
Be natural with your movements and gestures
Your gestures should flow naturally with what you’re saying; they should be congruent. Think of how you might gesture when you’re talking to a close friend about your topic. This will give you a good idea of how to move about when talking to an audience.