Public Speaking Gestures

Descriptive , Emphatic & Facial Expression Gestures

Public Speaking Gestures and facial expressions are like the seasoning on a well prepared meal. They add to the experience of a speech. Over used, they can detract from a tasteful lecture.

Failure to add seasoning to food is cruel and illegal.

    History reported that some inmates won a law suit regarding meatloaf. It turns out they were being served meatloaf with out any seasoning for punishment. The courts ruled it was cruel and unusual punishment. So one of the most basic rights we have, a little salt and pass the pepper please.

    How do you season your talk? Speech mastery requires more than just talking in front of a lot of people. Communication involves more than talking and listening. To satisfy the taste buds of our eyes and stimulate our minds requires salt and pepper. More advanced speakers can add other seasonings.

    As always, a little is good. Too much could ruin Your pressentation.

    That seasoning involves the non-verbal body language of public speaking gestures. They are your most basic form of body language. They can be facial expression. They can be arms and hands.

    What expression comes to mind if you were to bite into a fresh, thick, wedge of lemon or lime? What facial expression comes to mind when you think of the first time you knew the one you love was the one? Facial expressions can add that extra to your message that will help you better communicate.

    Like seasoning they not only help communicate, they also enhance the message we share. The face is where our conviction, love, joy, pain, sorrow, and hope can be communicated with out a word. It is as important as the words we use.

    In effect, it is like saying the same thing twice. Once with your words, and once with your face.

    What about other ways of speaking with nonverbal communication?

Types of Public Speaking Gestures

    Arms and Hands

    Mostly limited to the arms and hands, they can also include the body. They will help you and your voice share your message in a convincing manner.

    Why be cautious of too much or many? Over use can easily become a mannerism. A mannerism could be described as repeating the same style and form of public speaking gesture, over and over.

    What form should you use?

    Public speaking gestures fall into two styles. Emphatic and descriptive.

    Emphatic Gestures

    Emphatic gestures are subjective in nature. They express those things you feel, the convictions you have. They can be the period or exclamation mark at the end of a phrase. They can give power and energy to the speech.

    They need to be blended into what you say. If transiently used here and there, they will look stiff and unnatural. They need to spring from your inner self.

    If it is not your nature to be demonstrative with your hands, there is hope. To help put the nonverbal communication into your character, think of a favorite person or actor who you like who is great with gestures. Then when you’re up, imagine being them. Imagine it is them doing what you would never do.

    If it feels unnatural to move or communicate with arms, hands and face, it is only because of the programming of your brain. Some cultures are more demonstrative, others more conservative.

    Your ability to stifle this movement is a great quality to have when in front of a TV camera on close up. Picture sitting 15-20 feet away from a TV screen with a person standing and talking to you. Only thing, that persons is not moving.

    That speaker is as stiff as a board. You could be listening to a tape recording and going about other things. To know he is alive and not a cardboard cut out, you need to see movement.

    Your feeling unnatural is the one thing that makes the person who is far back in the audience know your alive. They are small movements to them. So if you want to be natural, you have to move a little.

Descriptive Gestures

    Descriptive Public Speaking Gestures are objective in nature. They show how big, how small, which way, position, and location. Anything you can touch.

    Often speakers will use flat extended hand to point when before large audiences. In large auditoriums, few will readily see you hold one finger up. The same would apply for something so small that you held two fingers to describe how small it was.

    To use a descriptive gesture, think of catching a fish and how big it was. My dad, in describing the size would hold his flat palms together and start spreading his arms. As the distance increased between his hands he would say, "It was about this…"

    By now his arms were extended as far as they would go. My guess, they could be at least four feet apart. And then he finished, "…far away from the boat before it got away."

Facial Expression

    Facial expression is the best non-verbal communicating feature we have. We can show a host of feelings with out saying a word. It can show happiness, sadness, disgust, joy, and delight.

    One of the most basic delights we can share is a smile. It takes so few muscles to do this. Nothing will have greater impact regarding a first impression. Of all facial expressions, master this one.

    It can move mountains. It can convey your interest in your audience. It will help you make a connection if you’re truly sincere.

    Remember to add the seasoning, master the use of that non-verbal body language and facial expressions.

    Failure to do so, well, could potentially make a lecture cruel and unusual punishment. So learn, master and use public speaking gestures.

    Naturalness is not necessarily something we all have when it comes to using body language as part of our public speaking. If it is in your movements or in your speech, this is an essential skill. Learn more...

    Go to the Speaking Skills List

    Public Speaking Gestures Home Page

    More Public Speaking Gestures: The Gesture Directory The Public Speaking Website

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Lets Connect View Jonathan Steele RN Holistic Nurse's profile on LinkedIn
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