When you’re giving a presentation, your words matter. But the way you gesture with your hands also matters quite a bit. You may not realize it, but your audience will derive a lot of meaning from the way you hold your hands. Body language is very revealing!
So it’s important to be aware of what you’re communicating when you hold your hands in a certain way. To help you out with that, here is a list of common hand gestures and how others tend to interpret them.
- Not Moving Your Hands at All
You don’t make any hand gestures while talking.
What It Means: Your audience may think that you don’t really care about what you’re talking about. You may appear to be uninterested or indifferent.
- Hiding Your Hands
Throughout your speech, you hide your hands from your audience’s view.
What It Means: Your audience may think that you’re untrustworthy.
- Hands Open at a 45 Degree Angle
You hold your hands in front of you with your open palms facing each other. Your hands are tilted outward slightly.
What It Means: This gesture suggests that you’re being open and honest about what you’re saying.
- Hands Open With Palms Facing Down
You hold your hands in front of you with your open palms facing the floor.
What It Means: This gesture is often interpreted as meaning that you’re very certain about what you’re saying.
- Palms Facing Each Other With Fingers Touching
You hold your hands in front of you with palms facing each other and your fingers touching (forming a triangle shape). This is sometimes known as a “hand steeple.”
What It Means: This gesture suggests that you’re an expert on the topic under discussion. (I also think it could mean that you’re an evil genius. I’ve noticed that a lot of movie villains tend to hold their hands this way!)
- Gripping Your Hands Together OR Touching Your Face and Hair a Lot
You clasp your hands together, or you constantly touch your face and play with your hair.
What It Means: These gestures will make you look nervous and uncertain.
- Making Big Gestures
You hold your arms and hands out wide.
What It Means: If you only do this once in a while, it’s a good way to let your audience know that you’re communicating something very important or groundbreaking. If you do it all the time, you will look a little odd and out of control.
Weinschenk, S. (2012, September 26). Your hand gestures are speaking for you. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brain-wise/201209/your-hand-gestures-are-speaking-you