It’s a fact – using your hands when you speak can invigorate an audience. So when you are behind a mic for an audio show, do you stop doing it? Does it hurt or help the show?
Absolutely. Also, I stand up – My voice is totally different when I stand. People can also hear your smile. I learned all of this in a thirty year broadcasting career. People think it doesn’t matter, but everything you do changes your energy and therefore what people hear.
– Dorothy Wilhelm – It’s Never Too Late
When the presidential elections roll through like a steamroller operated by a 6 year old, we not only hear about how the candidate speaks but also how they present themselves. Mostly about hand gestures. They get critiqued because of how they move.
If you were to take a class on speaking you will get instruction on hand gestures. They show you the strongest and the weakest stances. Even when to come closer to an audience and move away.
Body Language Says it All – Even Without Seeing it.
It’s not as much the hand gestures, as it is the body language you convey. For instance, if you move to a forward stance, you are poised as more passionate about what you are talking about. If you lean back people might see you as not caring about a topic.
When you move your body your voice does change. For instance – if I start waiving my hands around when I talk, my pace in speaking will increase. I might even get a little louder.
Even blind people gesture. It is part of the way we communicate. Doing it helps make our language more expressive.
– John Cunningham – Relaxation Media
Things to Keep in Mind When Using Your Hands
- If doing video, make sure your hands are visible as much as possible.
- Never cross your arms. This is a negative stance.
- Never put your hands in your pockets. This indicates you might be bored.
- Slow down your gestures. Too fast and people can get confused
- Follow through. Don’t stop halfway through a gesture – it will confuse people
Just don’t smack the desk or other fixtures.– Ed Lucas – Jubilee Economics*Note – If you do get emotional and smack over a lamp, explain that you did it and attribute to your passion.
Best Hand Gestures to Use
- Hands on the table, around a podium or computer
- Open Arms
- Pointer (without pointing)
- Chopping motion
- Hand over Heart
I do more when I’m audio only because I want to ‘get into character’ and I know I must keep my head near the mic.
– Brian Parker – On the Horn
That is an interesting point. Its a great way to get into a character because you can start to imagine what you or another person would say. For example – if you were doing a Bob Dole imitation, hold your right hand in a fist or hold a pen with your thumb on top. If there is a noticeable tic in a celebrity, use it to help with your interpretation.
You can even get into “Radio voice” character by making your own mannerisms. It can help you with vocal levels, movement and more because it prepares you for the show.
I even do a “Three… two…one…” before a show with the hand gesture to get ready for on-air.
Can You Get Away Without Gestures?
I don’t use gestures at all because I am holding my android tablet very still with two hands and reading the script off the screen.
– Kevin Mulryne – Yes Music Podcast
The answer is: YES! Gestures are not necessary. You can sit on your hands and still give a good podcast. As long as you convey your points or convey the passion without moving…
In Kevin’s comment – that technically is a gesture. Holding a device to read script is still a gesture. Its just not an animated gesture.
Takeaways from Gestures
- There are good gestures and bad gestures
- Gestures can help animate your voice
- You don’t need to use your hands – whatever is comfortable
- Gestures can help you get into a character
- Hand gestures can also include body language