Speakers generate a great amount of emotion and interest through the use of non-verbal communication, often called gestures or body language. A speaker’s body can be an effective tool for emphasizing and clarifying the words they use, while reinforcing their sincerity and enthusiasm. Here are a few tips on how to use gestures effectively:
- Eye contact establishes an immediate bond with an audience, especially when a speaker focuses in on individual listeners rather than just gazing over the audience as a whole.
- Control mannerisms. Mannerisms are the nervous expressions a speaker might not be aware of such as putting their hands in their pockets, nodding their head excessively, or using filler words like um and ah too often.
- Put verbs in to action when speaking to an audience by physically acting them out with the hands, face or entire body.
- Avoid insincere gestures by involving the entire body as much as possible in the movement and matching facial expressions to it.
- Move around the stage as topics change and move toward the audience when asking questions, making critical connections, or offering a revelation.
Learn more about Gestures and Body Language at Toastmasters.org
View more tips on our Gestures & Body Language manual