What’s your trademarked hand gesture?

By Laura Bergells on

Sarah Palin writes notes on hers. Bill Clinton is famous for the modified fist with the softened thumbs up gesture. TV pundits vary their hand gestures for emphasis and interest.

hand gestures in presentationsWhat do you do with your hands during a presentation?

For the past year, I’ve seen an alarming trend in presentation hand-gestures — especially by young men during technical presentations.

It’s the lackluster “hands in pockets” gesture made popular by the slacker dufus in those “I’m a PC” commercials. He’s the guy whose posture represents disinterest. He has nothing to do, so he stands with his hands in his pockets, listening to what the more entertaining fellow has to say.

“Hands in Pockets” might be appropriate during the “Q” part of “Q and A”. It can signal, “I’m open to listening to you”.

But it’s not a polite posture to adopt while speaking.

Worse, I frequently see the “hands in pocket” presenter fidget on stage. The hands start to dig deeper into the pockets. Fiddling commences.

I like to imagine the presenter is toying with his keys or a thumb drive, but I’m not entirely sure what he’s playing with down there. It makes me uncomfortable. I tend to lose focus on the presentation, worrying about what he might pull out of his pocket. Curiously, I seldom see women thrust their hands in their trousers while presenting. It seems to be a guy’s gesture.

What do you do with your hands? During your next presentation — watch what you do with your hands. Avoid inadvertently rude gestures. Vary the gestures throughout your speech.

And what’s your “trademark” gesture — the one gesture you can become famous for?

Just keep your hands where the audience can see ’em, please!