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Make your gestures come alive

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

business presentationGesturing comes naturally to dynamic leaders. They use their body—head, hands, arms—to reinforce their message.

To maximize your nonverbal cues, consider where you’d like to direct your audience’s attention. If you want em­­ployees to imagine what a new product will look like, pretend to hold it in your hand and caress it.

They will watch you and start to visualize what you’re holding up for them to “see.” The more realistic your gestures, the stronger the image they’ll take away.

If you’re passionately trying to make a point, gesture with your whole body. Don’t just wave your hands. Engage your wrists and arms. Raise your shoulders, and project the full force of your upper body to underscore your point.

Keep still if you want people to look directly at you. When reaching the climax of a dramatic story, for example, limit your body movements so that everyone’s concentrating on your face.

When describing an experience or series of actions, gesture more emphatically. This enables listeners to shift their attention away from your face to your whole body.

Explain a drop in sales by, say, capturing the concept of shrinkage: Start with your palms facing each other, far apart, and then slowly bring them together.

The more you try to picture your ideas and translate them into gestures, the less you’ll worry about what to do with your hands while you speak. You’ll come across as more lively and charismatic as a result.

—Adapted from “3 Ways to Use Gestures When Speaking Without Feeling Uncomfortable,” Anett Grant, www.fastcompany.com.

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