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What to Do with Your Hands

A particular concern often comes up when taking pictures, while hanging out at parties and… of course, in speech. “What am I supposed to do with my hands?” You may have wondered about this so I’d like to address the topic of gestures here. You have several options when it comes to what to do with your hands.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that it’s often perfectly fine to keep your hands by your sides. It can be painful to watch people gesture around nervously, without a rhyme or rhythm. Simply place your hands straight down in a neutral position and focus on your speech. It may feel incredibly uncomfortable at first but it’s far better than moving around uncontrollably.

Consider using big movements. Take up plenty of space. Move your hands and arms around forcefully and with power. This can help you to seem more powerful in the eyes of your audience. It will also help you to feel more powerful. Try to do this responsibly and only when appropriate. Otherwise it can be distracting.

Gesture naturally and purposefully. Don’t over-analyze your gestures. Use your hands and arms in whatever way you are comfortable with using them. As long as you move with a sense of purpose and deliberation then it shouldn’t be too distracting. It’s normal to speak while using your hands. Let your gestures come without feeling too much of a need to control them.

You may also use your hands and arms to act out whatever you’re describing, to list things, and to point things out as you are describing them.

So what are you supposed to do with your hands? Don’t worry too much about what you’re supposed to do with your hands! Keep them by your sides, take up space, and gesture naturally. Either way, worrying too much about it will take away focus from what really matters – your message and the passion you show in your delivery of that message.