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In this short tip, I want to share four different types of gestures you need to include in your physical communications skills. When you’re up speaking to an audience or whether you’re just having a one-on-one conversation, these are the gestures that you need to be thinking about, how you can incorporate to help make your message more memorable, make it more understandable, and importantly, increase your ability to influence and make that impact that you want.
What are the four gesture types?
First, let’s start off with the simple one, the descriptive gestures. These are the ones that will help you articulate and communicate something through description, whether it’s showing someone the shape of something, showing them something along those lines that will help them visualise what it is you want them to understand. That’s where descriptive gestures come in.
Your next one is your emphatic gestures. These are the ones that will, whether it’s through your face or through your arms and body movement, it implies energy and it shows how important something is to you from an emotional perspective. That’s the second type of gesture you want to put in there.
The third type of gesture is, basically, a suggestive. It’s a suggestive gesture to say, maybe shrug of the shoulders, maybe things aren’t as important to the point that you’re making. It’s really, again, just helping just put a suggestion, it’s not about directly saying something. It’s just allowing your body and your gestures to suggest ideas to your audience, so that they pick up on it.
Finally, prompting gestures. These are the ones that are important, particularly as calls to action, ’cause it helps lead people and prompt them to what to do next. The obvious, simple on is if you’re MCing an event, you start clapping to prompt the audience to start clapping. Now, the question is, for your speeches, for your presentations, when you’re communicating, what do you want to prompt people to do next? That’s where you think about what kind of gesture would help you make that prompt.
We’ve got four types of gestures that you need to be incorporating to get participants, you might speak to influence progress and practise these and get to develop these as part of the assignments they work on. Think about how you can apply these gestures to your communication. Think about, importantly, what types of gestures will help you enhance your message.