The power of using your hands to connect with your audience.
Recently in a workshop, I saw a heart-warming demonstration of how your hands can transform the way your audience perceives you.
It went like this. One of the trainees told us that when she spoke to her audiences, she got feedback that she came across as a "bossy cow". When she spoke in front of us, she looked poised and confident, but she also looked dictatorial and aloof. Her upper back was super straight, her torso was still and her hands were together.
After some experimentation, we found a simple solution. I asked her not only to separate her hands, but also to gesture with them. Specifically, I asked her to make her hands move slightly towards some of the individuals she looked at, with fingers bent to soften the gesture.
The result was a dramatic change. The "bossy cow" was gone. Her rigid posture had softened. The impressed audience said that her eyes had warmed, that she seemed more interested in them, and - here's the really interesting part - the change had not cost her any personal authority.
She was clearly pleased with the change.
The wider significance? If we want to connect with our audiences, we must talk with our whole body - not just with our head and lips.
Enjoy your speaking.