Do you ever feel awkward about what to do with your hands when you give a presentation?
You're not alone.
Isn't it strange, though, that people almost never feel this awkwardness during everyday conversation? Gesturing comes so easily outside of a presentation environment. I'll bet you even gesture when talking on the phone to someone who can't see your hands moving.
The simple truth is gesturing is in our wiring.
It's part of the way human beings communicate with one another. Scientists have found that gesturing stimulates both long- and short-term memory centers in the brain. People gesture naturally, and also differently, depending on personality, culture and circumstance.
Anxiety when giving a presentation interferes with gesturing naturally and comfortably.
During a presentation, you may feel awkward and position your hands in places you might not otherwise were you feeling relaxed and comfortable.
Here are a couple of things to try, so you can look and feel more comfortable the next time you present.
Before the presentation...
- Observe what people do with their hands while in conversation when they are not in front of an audience.
- Observe people when they are looking confident and relaxed. What do their gestures look like?
- Observe a really good presenter. What do they do with their hands?
During the presentation...
- Let your gestures “flow,” just as if you were talking to a room full of friends.
- Video record yourself giving the presentation and watch it later to see what you do with your hands. Be aware of what you do with your hands when you're not gesturing.
- When you're not gesturing, use the “neutral position” to relax your arms. Simply rest both arms down to your sides between gestures, only for a moment. This looks better than wringing your hands in front of you, putting them in your pockets, or holding them behind your back.
- There are two basic types of gestures. One type shows us objects and motion, like drinking out of a cup. The other, and the one used more frequently, is the gesture of emphasis, accent or expression. Make sure you're using the former when appropriate and the latter frequently.
The art of using gestures for emphasis is just one of the skills featured in Mandel’s Presentation Skills Training Workshops.
Gratitude. Appreciation. Recognition. It makes you feel good. This week in the US, many will pause for a day or two to give thanks and show appreciation for the things and people we care about most. It’s no secret how appreciation benefits the person getting it—but did you know it benefits the person giving it just as much? Discover why recognition is such a powerful tool for improving relationships and wellbeing in life—and at work. Learn how to (and how NOT to) express your appreciation to others.
People in communities across the globe are adjusting to communicating while wearing masks. As we’re all experiencing, masks present both verbal and non-verbal communication challenges.Given this, we’ve prepared 5 tips for effective communications while wearing a mask, and compiled several insightful articles from leading publications on additional best practices.
Customers coming to a user conference aren’t there for the fanfare, they’re there for the expertise. If you’re an expert speaking at a user conference, you’re highly knowledgeable and passionate about your topic, but you might not be an expert at speaking in front of an audience. Here are five practical tips that you can implement right away for any upcoming speaking event.
Read the blog and learn how to make your next team offsite your most productive yet.
TED Talks have become a go-to example for how to give an engaging presentation from the big stage. They can be informative, inspiring, and often incredibly entertaining. But is the TED Talk format right for a business presentation delivered in a conference room? Probably not — but the skills used by TED Talk presenters definitely are!
Learn how to identify what goes into a successful TED Talk and how to make those skills work for you in your everyday business presentations.
Learn Mandel’s 3-step model for skillfully responding — not reacting — to tough questions with confidence and ease.
You know your scientists, engineers, and technology experts are the best around. They're proven innovators and solution providers within your organization. Why, then, is presenting to a business audience such a common challenge for technical professionals?
Learn 11 tactics your technical team can use right now to make them more effective and influential communicators for any business decision maker.
Admittedly, I've struggled to find a reliable way to help people reduce their public speaking anxiety, despite years of trying. I’ve advised people to do just about anything I could think of that might help, e.g., breathing, meditation. While I haven't found the thing that works every time for every person, there is one technique that seems to be more effective than most. Even if you've already found something that works well for you, this technique is worth trying out.
Imagine being asked to present to your entire company tomorrow. Does the idea of it make you nervous? You might be tempted to get right to work, writing every word down and committing them to memory. Now, what if I said you couldn’t memorize your talk? Whoa, wait a minute. You wonder, “How am I supposed to remember what to say?”
Find out why memorizing is a terrible idea and what you should do instead to prepare for your next presentation.
Be sure to set your speakers up for success. Read this week's blog to find out how.
- Top Virtual Communication Mistakes – and How to Overcome Them in 2021!
- Tell a Story. Close a Deal. Even on Zoom.
- Throwback: Why Appreciation Matters in Life and at Work
- Tips for Communicating Effectively While Wearing a Mask
- Five Tips From a Virtual Meeting Producer
- How to Lead Hybrid Meetings: 5 Tips for Success
- What are the Four Listening Styles?
- How To Develop Listening Intelligence In Your Organization
- Mandel Launches Neuroscience-Based Listening Solution, The Listening Edge™
- Hosting a Virtual User Conference? Prepare Your Speakers to Succeed