What To Do With Your Hands – Talking in Public

What To Do With Your Hands


How often do you think about your hands when you are talking in public? I mean when you are talking to friends or colleagues rather than when you are a making a speech. It’s not really high on my list, however when I’m making a speech it’s a different case altogether.
Just remember one thing – when you are talking in public the last place for your hands is in your pockets!

So what can you do with them?


  • One hand can be placed behind your back which means no-one in your audience can see if its shaking from nerves!
  • When you are speaking without notes you will appear relaxed if you lace your fingers together loosely when you have both arms in front of you.
  • When you are using notes, hold them in the hand that is natural to you at about waist height and hold your wrist with the other hand. It may feel a little uncomfortable at first but it looks relaxed from the audience viewpoint.
  • When you have the advantage of a rostrum to speak from, rest both hands lightly on it at the base or about 1 inch up from the base at each side. Don’t lean on the rostrum, quite apart from some being unstable it encourages bad posture which in turn will affect your breathing and presentation.

Of course, you may need to use your hands to emphasise points within your speech. Then you need to remember not to make these gestures too sudden (unless you want to startle your audience) and to use a variety of them for maximum impact.

Again I recommend you watch other speakers and take note of their hand movements. Also have someone watch you and give you some feedback on what looks natural with your hands when you are speaking.