The face bone is connected to the wrist bone.

That’s right. Very often, when our clients are having trouble improving their hand gestures, we’ll focus on their facial energy. That’s because if you improve facial energy, the gestures will often improve.

“What do I do with my hands?” is a question we get from a lot of our clients and workshop participants. And like most public speaking skills companies, our programs include a very effective module on hand and arm gestures and body movement.

But often we see gestures improve simply by energizing the face.

Be Like Jim Carrey on Steroids

“Here’s what I’d like you do during your presentation,” one of our coaches will tell a workshop participant. “Deliver your next presentation with too much facial energy. It should feel like you’re face is over-active, like Jim Carrey on steroids.”

And the participant will speak on videotape with lots of eyebrow action, exaggerating the smiles and grimaces. We’ll then look at the tape and see that the gestures suddenly became quite natural! It’s like the facial energy somehow fixed the gestures!

Of course, what’s happening is that the focus on the facial energy has made the participant forget about his hands and start gesturing in a natural, energized and confident manner.

Other Tips for Gestures

The fact is that while we teach gestures, movement, facial energy, and vocal energy as separate modules, they often all work together and are naturally connected. If you improve your facial energy, there’s a good chance that you will improve your gestures.

Of course, it doesn’t always work that way. Much of the time, gestures can be improved with a few simple tips:

Make Big Gestures: The best gestures reach out and make you take up a lot of space. The bigger you look, the more confident you will appear to your listeners.

Hold the Gestures Through a Thought: No apple picking! Don’t stab at the air with your hands. That can be distracting. Rather reach out and hold the gesture confidently until you’ve completed your thought.

Gesture Boldly: Think about how an umpire calls a person “safe” when sliding into home. He makes a strong decisive movement. That powerful movement makes him look confident.

Speechworks is a communication and selling skills coaching firm. We teach professionals how to craft and deliver complex messages in a simple, persuasive manner. Since 1986, through workshops and one-on-one instruction, we have helped countless individuals become better presenters and communicators. You can reach us at 404.266.0888, speech@speechworks.net or on the web at www.speechworks.net

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