Article 2 of 4. Body Language for Public Speakers and Toastmasters

Use of your Hand and Feet.

Article 1: Hand and Feet

Introduction: Body language is an important aspect of public speaking. It can help speakers connect with their audience, emphasize key points, and convey confidence and authority. One of the most effective ways to use body language is through hand and feet gestures. In this article, we will explore the power of hand and feet gestures in communication and how public speakers can use them to enhance their message.

Body: The Power of Hand Gestures in Communication Hand gestures are an important aspect of body language. They can convey emotion, emphasize key points, and help connect with the audience. In fact, studies have shown that using hand gestures while speaking can increase engagement and retention in the audience.

Types of Hand Gestures and Their Meanings There are many types of hand gestures, each with its own meaning. For example, pointing can be used to emphasize a specific point or direct the audience’s attention. Open palms can convey openness and honesty, while closed fists can convey anger or frustration. Other common gestures include the thumbs up, the ok sign, and the palm down gesture.

Dos and Don’ts of Using Hand Gestures While hand gestures can be an effective tool for public speakers, there are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind. For example, it’s important to use gestures that feel natural and authentic. Overusing gestures or using them in a robotic or repetitive way can be distracting to the audience. Additionally, it’s important to avoid gestures that could be misinterpreted, such as pointing directly at someone.

Examples of Effective Use of Hand Gestures by Public Speakers There are many public speakers who use hand gestures effectively to enhance their message. For example, former US President Barack Obama is known for his use of hand gestures, such as the “point and pause” gesture. This involves pointing at a specific person or object, then pausing to allow the audience to absorb the message. Other effective speakers who use hand gestures include Tony Robbins, Simon Sinek, and Brené Brown.

The Role of Feet in Body Language In addition to hand gestures, feet can also play an important role in body language. Posture and stance can convey confidence and authority, while fidgeting or shifting can convey nervousness or insecurity. Additionally, feet can be used to direct the audience’s attention or emphasize a specific point.

Importance of Posture and Stance Posture and stance are crucial aspects of body language. They can convey confidence and authority or nervousness and insecurity. When speaking, it’s important to stand tall, with shoulders back and head held high. Feet should be shoulder-width apart, with weight evenly distributed on both feet. This stance conveys confidence and authority, while also allowing for movement and gesturing.

Common Mistakes to Avoid There are some common mistakes to avoid when using feet gestures. For example, shifting weight from one foot to the other or pacing back and forth can be distracting to the audience. Additionally, crossing arms or standing with feet too close together can convey defensiveness or nervousness.

Examples of Effective Use of Feet Gestures by Public Speakers Many public speakers use feet gestures effectively to enhance their message. For example, TED Talk speaker Amy Cuddy is known for her power stance, which involves standing with feet wide apart and hands on hips. This stance conveys confidence and authority, and can help speakers feel more confident and grounded.

Conclusion: Hand and feet gestures are powerful tools for public speakers. By using them effectively, speakers can enhance their message, connect with the audience, and convey confidence and authority. It’s important to practice and master these gestures in order to use them effectively in public speaking.


  • Pease, Allan, and Barbara Pease. The Definitive

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