How to Master Gestures to Project Confidence

What do you do with your hands when you’re speaking?

Your body language and the ways you use gestures while speaking can make or break the image you project to others. Albert Mehrabian, the eminent communication psychologist, has stated in his research, that 55% of a first impression is based on the nonverbal communication. Take a look at the following strategies to make sure your gestures are working for you:

  • Use gestures to draw attention to the parts of your message that you really want your listener to focus on. A well-timed gesture will subtly cue your audience to pay particular attention to what you’re saying, emphasize your point, and will make that moment more memorable later on.

  • Find your balance. While staying stiff and motionless can come across as unnatural, so can gesturing too much or too often. Rather than creating contrived gestures, pay attention to the gestures you naturally use while speaking, and then adapt and modify them to suit your particular professional situation.
  • When listening to someone else speak, it’s best to keep your hands and body relatively still. Subtle, interactive movements, like nodding or leaning forward can be helpful. However, many people have a habit of unconsciously fidgeting while listening: playing with jewelry, jiggling a leg, or toying with pens, paper clips or other items on their desk. This can make you seem disinterested or nervous.
  • Related: How to End Your Presentation Right: Mastering the Q&A

    If you’re looking for more ways to make your communication skills your most powerful professional tool, make sure to pick up a free copy of my e-book “Communicate with Clarity and Confidence!” by subscribing to our newsletter community on our website. In this free resource, I break down the myriad factors that contribute to confident communication and guide you through how to use each aspect to your advantage.