Why would you want to “gesture?” Aren’t your words enough?
We gesture to add force to our points, to slam home the major theme of our presentation.
To demonstrate honesty, decisiveness, humility, boldness . . . even fear.
A motion toward the door, a shrug, a lifted eyebrow – what words can equal these gestures?
While its range is limited, gesture can carry powerful meaning. It should carry powerful meaning. Speaking Master James Winans noted in 1915 that this form of nonverbal language predates spoken language.
Gesture, within its limitations, is an unmistakable language, and is understood by men of all races and tongues. Gesture is our most instinctive language; at least it goes back to the beginning of all communication when the race, still lacking articulate speech, could express only through the tones of inarticulate sounds and through movements.
Another Arrow in Your Quiver
Gesture is part of our repertoire of non-verbal communication. You have many arrows in the quiver of gesture from which to choose, and they can pack power into your presentation. On rare occasion, they can imbue your presentation with majesty of epic proportions.
Your careful, thoughtful gestures increase your talk’s persuasiveness and lend gravitas to your words. In fact, gesture is essential to take your presentation to an especially powerful level, a level far above the mundane.
You limit yourself if you do not gesture effectively as you present. Let’s look at some examples . . .