What Do I Do With My Hands?

17th June, 2010 - Posted from janebeard

Forget about ‘em.

Seriously.

Because when your attention is on your hands, it’s not on us, out in the audience. And we matter more than your hands do.

PLUS: Your hands are really smart. In almost all cases, they’ll do everything naturally and intelligently — IF you just let them do what they do.

When you become conscious of your hands, suddenly they’re a lot less intelligent than they were before you decided to “help” them with conscious thought. That’s when hands look stiff and wooden.

That’s especially true for the people we call “hand talkers” – the expressive people whose hands fly around as they speak. In fact, we were just speaking today with a person who had to hold her notes and a hand mic — and suddenly couldn’t find the words to come out of her mouth!

Try this experiment. Pick up any text handy to you — the bills on your desk, maybe, or a magazine. Start reading it out loud.

Now focus on what your hands “should” be doing as you read it. Keep reading out loud – try to make sense of what you are saying – and make your hands “do” something.

It doesn’t feel good, does it?

And we can tell you, from out where we sit, it doesn’t look natural. You look stiff, you look a tad distracted, more on guard, more formal, less authentic. And if you’re a serious hand talker,like our client today, you may even have trouble getting the words out of your mouth.

Let the same intelligence that runs your hands the rest of the time be in charge of them when you present. All that body language stuff about what your hands “should be doing” is irrelevant in most situations, for virtually all people.

Let your hands deliver the reflexive, innate support to your ideas and language they provide in your real life. Just because you’re standing in front of a big audience doesn’t mean you should suddenly be less real. Just the oppostite.! We’re there to hear YOU and YOUR IDEAS – and if your hands want to help do the talking, let them.