Speak With Confidence – Your Gestures Play A Big Role

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To speak with confidence fully involves more than just your voice. Your body language can convey confidence to the audience before you start to speak and while you speak. A confident posture and demeanour will also make you feel more confident.

Gestures play a major part in putting your ideas across to the audience.  The way you gesture can determine whether the audience has confidence in what you are saying.

Gestures should be made positively, with decision and confidence. Naturally, weak, uncertain, timid bodily action causes an audience to feel that a speaker is unsure of his ability, probably not well prepared to speak, and generally ineffective as a speaker.

When gesturing a person’s whole body should work as a unified medium of communication. A speaker should “lean into” his gestures rather than throw out his hands like leaves falling from a tree, or as though he were a mechanical man loosely connected at the wrists. Also he should encourage big arched movements rather than short, angular, jerky ones. Let a speaker reach up and out in all directions, freely using the cubic feet of air around him.
Naturally effective gestures will correspond with the meaning of speech material. Sometimes a conflict occurs, as when the preacher declared, “When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there!” As he spoke he pointed emphatically straight down! But he didn’t mean that at all.

A valuable principle of effective bodily action is doing what comes naturally in relation to ideas that are being expressed. Muscles, as well as the mind and voice, should freely express those ideas.

There is no one certain way to make any gesture. But UP and OUT (within reason of course) are helpful terms to remem¬ber and apply in connection with gestures. Movements which are up and out can be readily seen by an audience. Such movements are also usually more positive and dynamic than small uncertain movements made close to a speaker’s body. Then, too, when hands and arms move on a high plane they are nearer the speaker’s face, which enables an audience to get a unified emotional effect from the hands, arms and face.
When possible ideas should always be illustrated with bodily action. For instance, when a speaker tells about the big fish that got away he can picture the idea with facial and bodily action — if he can reach that far!

A speaker in coversation or in public speaking who refuses or neglects to use natural gestures is like a boxer with one hand in his pocket, or like someone speak­ing through a TV set that has no picture tube. Such a speaker would lack a visual appeal which would surely detract from his persuasiveness.

In summary for gestures to help in being able to speak with confidence they are best when they are natural, “up and out”, and match what is being said. In addition gesturing can help relieve any tension that may have built up, thereby relaxing the speaker and helping to speak with confidence.

One Response to “Speak With Confidence – Your Gestures Play A Big Role”

  1. Good analogies! And projecting the body as “up and out” is very useful indeed. Might I add that we also need to “Go Big” with our gestures, particularly when we are speaking in front of a very large audience. More about this topic can be found here: http://www.ConfidentlySpeaking.com


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