What your talking hands say
People say you’re expressive. You talk with your hands. But what exactly are your hands saying?
When speaking to a group or explaining something to colleagues, hand gestures are useful, says Carol Kinsey Goman, a Berkeley, Calif.-based executive coach and author of The Silent Language of Leaders, coming out next spring. They show you’re passionate about the subject and that, as a person, you are warm, agreeable and energetic. But your gestures can get you in trouble if they’re ill-timed or fail to match your words. “Authentic gestures begin split seconds before the words that accompany them,” Kinsey Goman says, and as long as they match your verbal message, they help to build trust with your audience. By contrast, if a speaker’s gestures come too late or “are not in full agreement with the spoken words, the audience consciously or subconsciously perceives duplicity, uncertainty or, at the very least, internal conflict.”
So before your next speech, rehearse with someone who can review your body language — or, better yet, record a video of your presentation and be your own judge. Click Next to see some of the silent signals you are conveying — on purpose or otherwise.