If you get annoyed every time you hear the standard advice to “gesture naturally”, keep reading. I mean, sure, gesture naturally! But what about when there is no gesture to accompany your words? There are plenty of brief moments during a speech or presentation when you have nothing to do with your hands. So what should be your “default” hand position?
Many speakers (myself included) have been told to adopt the “steeple” hand gesture (11:00 in the video below).
Does this hand position really look natural?
What’s the alternative?
When you’re not trying to express anything with your hands, your audience shouldn’t notice them. With that in mind, I’ve made an effort to notice what “natural” presenters do with their hands when they’re not actively gesturing. The common practice I’ve noticed is what I call, “The Finger Pinch”.
Watch weather reporters
If you present in a professional setting, you can learn a lot from weather reporters. They present standing up, without a lectern. They’re either empty-handed or holding a small clicker. And they present with visual aides.
They are professional presenters.
As far as hand gestures are concerned, you’ll notice that they do indeed gesture naturally. And they use the finger pinch as their neutral position. Unless you’re looking for it, it’s unnoticeable.
Give it a try
It feels comfortable. It looks natural. It doesn’t inspire memes.