By Judith Rasband, AICI CIM
Your hand and arm gestures can be valuable aids in helping you improve the visual image you present to others. Learn to use gestures to express yourself with energy and animation. Use them to reflect your interest and enthusiasm, to rivet the listener’s attention, to create mental pictures in the minds of your audience –be it an audience of one or 100. Use gestures to support what you’re saying, to intensify the impact of your words and to drive home important points.
Never force your gestures just for the sake of gesturing. Because thoughts precede any natural body language, gestures must flow naturally from the ideas that you are communicating. As the words come, so should the appropriate gesture. Any gesture out of sync with what you’re saying make the message less believable. Attempts to learn a particular set of gestures are usually doomed to failure because the results appear robotic, stilted and insincere. Gestures must be clear, never confusing or meaningless. The more honestly you let your gestures flow, the more believable you become.
Every verb is an excellent opportunity to make a supportive gesture. For example: “Let’s pull together.” Adjectives or descriptive words and phrases provide other opportunities for gesturing. For example: “There is a huge new development in…”
If you need somewhere to put your hands, put them in your side pockets. This is a gesture that relaxes your stance and quickly creates an air of jaunty self-confidence. It’s particularly good for informal occasions and presentations. Just don’t twiddle with anything inside your pockets or you’ll ruin the effect.
If you are in a position that requires you to speak before a group, experiment with different gestures and decide which ones best convey your message.
After working with several simple phrases, advance to a full paragraph taken from written material you can relate to or use in your work. Make your practice more fun and play charades with family and friends.
With time you can expand your gestural vocabulary to enhance your verbal message along with your visual image.
Copyright Judith Rasband and Conselle L.C. 2009
Judith Rasband is the Image Expert and would love to work with you! Visit www.conselle.com or call 801-224-1207 to learn more.