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Seven Guidelines for Gesturing When You Speak

Seven Guidelines for Gesturing When You Speak

Bill Lampton, Ph.D.

When I coach executives who want to become more effective speakers, or when I direct a presentation skills seminar, there’s one question I hear repeatedly: “How should I gesture when I give a speech?”

Usually, the questioner goes on to say: "I feel awkward enough just trying to remember my speech. Then the tension escalates when I realize that my audience members are watching my movements as well as hearing my words. I become so concerned about my physical activity that I get distracted from my main goal—sharing ideas with the audience.

I understand the uneasiness. I experienced those worries myself during my first years of making presentations. As a manager who conducted staff meetings, trained volunteers, and presided over corporate functions, I fretted over my discomfort. Eventually, I discovered 7 guidelines for gestures that worked for me, and now for my coaching clients. I’m glad to share them.