It is a term used to identify the
expressions of the face (especially the
eyes), the gestures made by the head,
shoulders, hands, and other parts of the
When one is facilitating adjustment
When securing and maintaining the
listener’s interest and attention
When clarifying the meaning
All good speakers use gestures. Why?
Gestures are probably the most evocative
form of nonverbal communication a
speaker can employ. No other kind of
physical action can enhance your
speeches in as many ways as gestures.
Clarify and support your words. Gestures
strengthen the audience’s understanding
of your verbal message.
Dramatize your ideas. Together with what
you say, gestures help paint vivid pictures in
your listeners’ minds.
Lend emphasis and vitality to the spoken word.
Gestures convey your feelings and attitudes more
clearly than what you say.
Help dissipate nervous tension. Purposeful gestures
are a good outlet for the nervous energy inherent in
a speaking situation.
Function as visual aids. Gestures enhance audience
attentiveness and retention.
Stimulate audience participation. Gestures help you
indicate the response you seek from your listeners.
Are highly visible. Gestures provide visual support
when you address a large number of people and the
entire audience may not see your eyes.
Clenched Fist (to show determination,
Pointed Finger (to accuse, to caution, to
Palm Upward (a plea, begging); and
Palm Downward (to show disdain, to
It’s natural for you to gesture. It’s
unnatural for you not to. If you inhibit
your impulse to gesture, you will
probably become tense.
When you speak, you should be totally
involved in communicating – not thinking
about your hands. Your gesture must be
motivated by the content of your
Every gesture you make should be
purposeful and reflective of your words
so your audience will note only the
effect not the gesture itself.
Don’t overdo gesturing as it may distract
Your gestures should be lively and
distinct if they are to convey the
Effective gestures should be vigorous
enough to be convincing yet slow
enough and broad enough to be clearly
visible without being overpowering.
Every gesture has three parts:
› The Approach – Your body begins to move
› The Stroke – The gesture itself
› The Return – This brings your body back to a
*Don’t try to memorize every move.
To improve gestures, you have to
practice – but never during a speech.
Point out persons, places, or things within
the sight of the listeners of within the
imagination. The index finger may be
used; often the palm gesture is
Generally, the index finger is used to
point out small objects in a precise
manner, while the palm gesture is utilized
for large objects or areas.
Describe or demonstrate objects, ideas,
or action. The length of a fish may be
shown by your hands vertically
Stress or emphasize ideas. The index
finger gesture or the clenched fist
gesture may be used.
Stimulate the imagination of the listeners.
Many gestures fall under this category. If
a gesture does not fall under the first
three enumerated but it helps convey
thought, it falls under this type of gesture.
A general principle that we should
constantly be aware of is that
consciously or unconsciously, people try
to determine a person’s character from
the way he looks, talks, and acts. Your
physical appearance is thus important in
Neatness has always been a virtue
› A dull –looking person cannot impress
Not using gestures at all
› If you keep your hands locked at your sides,
you will look nervous and what you are
saying will lack the visual elements to
accompany and enhance your words for
Pocketing your hands
Holding your hands behind your back
Pointing at the audience
Folded arms across the chest
Using stilted gestures
Using overly wild gestures
Pacing back and forth or walking
Shifting your wait from one foot to
Hiding behind a table, the podium, or
your visual aid
Standing too stiffly
Slouching and keeping your head down
Poker face and the “Bert” eyebrows
Showing too much teeth
Sta. Ines, S. (2013). How to deliver
successful presentations. Quezon City:
O’brien, T. (2011). Effective speaking
skills. New Delhi: Rupa Publications India
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