Mastering The Art Of Speaking: Hand Gestures, Mindset, Pacing

Feb 11, 2024

Pop Your Hands Out Of Your Pockets To Fully Engage Audiences.

Have you ever noticed how some speakers keep their hands in their pockets or remain stiff on stage? While this may seem casual, it can be detrimental to your performance. Keeping your hands in your pockets limits your ability to engage with your audience and express your thoughts and emotions effectively.

Pro tip: make a conscious effort to pop your hands out to match your words. If you're energetic have your energy focused at shoulder height. If you never get energetic then there's something wrong with your speaking.

Two tips for using hand gestures effectively:

  1. Use appropriate gestures: Choose gestures that are relevant to your message and help convey your ideas. Duh! Seriously think about it, if you're saying "Hello and welcome," do you want your arms crossed? Well, I'd argue that every sentence is important.
  2. Practice: Rehearse your speech and pay attention to your hand gestures. Practice your speech without words like acting, yes, acting is good.

Mindset Matters.

As a public speaker, your mindset determines your success. A positive and confident mindset keeps you rocking on stage, overcoming stage fright, connecting with your audience, and delivering a powerful and impactful speech.

However, maintaining a positive mindset can be challenging, especially when facing self-doubt or negative thoughts. One way to cultivate a positive mindset is through affirmations (even though people hate them). Affirmations are positive statements that can help rewire your brain (when repeated constantly) and change your thought patterns. By repeating affirmations related to your public speaking abilities, you can boost your confidence and improve your overall performance. Here are some examples of affirmations that you should say out loud right now. Say them out loud and say them by using hand gestures.

"I am a confident and engaging public speaker."

"My message is valuable and deserves to be heard."

"I always connect with my audience and inspire them."

One step deeper: My friend and speaker Nathalie dislikes affirmations, perhaps you do as well. She suggests that you think about what you're thinking about and then put it into the past tense as you say it out loud.

For example:

I'm thinking about how overwhelming the speaking business is. Okay, now I say out loud, "I used to think the speaking business was overwhelming. BUT I know I'll figure it out soon."

The template is: I used (XYZ) BUT now I'm (ABC).

Pace Your Speaking Speed.

Have you ever listened to a speaker who spoke at a pace that was either too fast or too slow for you to follow? This can be frustrating for the audience and can hinder your ability to connect with them effectively. To create a strong rapport with your audience, it's essential to pace your speaking speed according to their listening preferences. Here are some strategies for maintaining an appropriate speaking pace: Speak at a pace that is comfortable for your audience.

  1. Pay attention to the natural rhythm of your speech and adjust your pace accordingly.
  2. Use pauses to emphasize key points and give your audience time to absorb your message.

Full disclosure: I once worked with a speaker who had to speak slowly. I also know a speaker who doesn't want to slow down the speaking pace. That's fine, but let the audience know, "One thing you might notice about me is that I speak fast. So please know this and keep up."


"You may notice I speak slowly. That's because every word is important!" hahaha.

Yes, I'm saying to state the obvious because if you don't people will wonder if you are aware of it, and that will block their listening.

In conclusion, mastering the art of public speaking involves a combination of techniques and mindset. By popping your hands out, maintaining a positive mindset, and pacing your speaking speed, you can create a more engaging and memorable presentation.

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