How to Make Grand Gestures in Innovative Presentation - dummies

How to Make Grand Gestures in Innovative Presentation

By Ray Anthony, Barbara Boyd

Make grand gestures in your innovative presentations by extending your arms far from your body, which enlarges you as a presenter. Use these gestures in front of large audiences to increase your stage presence and charisma. If you want to add dynamics to your body language, expand your gestures outward and animate them as needed.

Gestures that keep your arms close to your body are more appropriate for smaller groups where grand gestures would come across as too flamboyant and extravagant for the occasion.

Don’t think that your arm and hand gestures have to be animated the whole time you’re talking. You can, on occasion, use a specific gesture and hold it in place (static) for 3 to 15 seconds, which can be a very dramatic, sustained way of communicating a key point.

An organizational change consultant is making a presentation about his idea for a new vision for his client’s corporation. He says, “The enticing vision we’re discussing is right over the horizon.” He raises his arm and points his finger in the direction he’s looking toward (as if in the distance).

While keeping his arm up, pointing toward the invisible vision, he continues, “Even though that vision is beyond our sight now, we will find it, travel toward it, and reach it. It’s a vision that all of you said you would be excited by, and one that is worthy of your hard work.

The vision is there (as he slightly pulls his arm back to thrust it forward in the pointed direction) for all of you to see very soon.” Think of using static gestures that spotlight and reinforce your spoken words.

Avoid the following gestures, which send the wrong message:

  • Keeping your hands in your pockets

  • Holding your arms stiffly at your sides

  • Pointing or wagging your finger at people

  • Folding your arms across your chest

  • Using the same gesture over and over

  • Tightly clutching your notes or folding, rolling, or fiddling with them

To use gestures to your best advantage, do the following:

  • Plan the important gestures you will use.

  • Practice gestures to look natural and spontaneous.

  • Time your gestures to coincide with a major point.

  • Reinforce your messages with appropriate gestures.

  • Apply a rich variety of gestures to your talk.

  • Use your entire body, not just your arms and hands, to fully gesture.