17 Hand Gestures That Can Improve Your Communication

Hand Gestures That Can Improve Your Communication

Broca’s area, a region in our brain, is responsible for regulating gestures. This area in the brain is connected to the production of speech and is also responsible for waving our hands. One study conducted in 2013 revealed that “gesture is a robust part of human communication and can be harnessed in a variety of ways. Our hands are with us at all times and we routinely use them for communication.

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How to use hand gestures to improve communication

Using hand gestures can certainly improve the effectiveness of your communication. But there are certain things you need to keep in mind –

  • Do not go overboard while using your hands to communicate. Your hands gestures should be confined from the top of your chest to the bottom of your waist, suggests best selling author Vanessa Van Edwards. Going out of this zone can be distracting for the listener and have adverse effects.
  • Make sure your gestures are expressive, instead of being stiff or out of control. Try to avoid the “Jazz Hands.”
  • Use your gestures meaningfully to drive your point home and to make your message clear.
  • Keep it natural. Do not try to overcompensate your words with your gestures. Your hand gestures should be smooth and must appear natural. It should complement your speech, not complicate it.

17 most effective hand gestures 

Here are some of the most important and helpful hand gestures you should use while speaking. These gestures are widely used by successful entrepreneurs, leaders and the best speakers across the world. Take a look:

1. Listing numbers

17 Hand Gestures That Can Improve Your Communication
hand gesture : Listing numbers

When we use a hand gesture while counting or listing something, it helps to make the point clearer. Listing is perhaps the most common and easiest gesture. By doing the relevant gesture every time you talk about a number, you can structure the message. Moreover, it becomes easier for the listener to remember the numbers easily. It acts as a “nonverbal anchor” according to Vanessa Van Edwards of the Science Of People.

2. Money sign

17 Hand Gestures That Can Improve Your Communication
hand gesture – Money sign

This another basic gesture that is used across the globe to denote money or currency. When you rub the tip of your index finger and middle finger against your thumb repeatedly, it signifies that you’re talking about money. Entrepreneur, speaker and author John Rampton says that this gesture “can be used when talking about sales and is a symbol that everyone in a sales meeting is sure to understand.

3. The backhand slap 

17 Hand Gestures That Can Improve Your Communication
Hand Gesture – The backhand slap

This is another common yet important hand gesture that signifies that you are about to say something important. You simply slap the back of your dominant hand on the palm of the other hand. This gesture and the sound of the slap ask the listener to pay attention and listen up. 

Vanessa Van Edwards says “This is a very strong gesture, so use it with caution. It is a ‘bottom line’ hand gesture or ‘listen here’ movement.” Entrepreneur Derek Halpren adds that the backhand slap “adds conviction when you lay down the facts.

4. Fist Pump

17 Hand Gestures That Can Improve Your Communication
Hand gesture – Fist Pump

This gesture signifies that you’re determined to achieve something. The fist pump is used to communicate success and signifies “strength, encouragement, and intensity,” explains Derek Halpren. However, Van Edwards warns “Be careful when using this gesture with an irritated voice, because it can come off as anger!

5. Shelf sweep

17 Hand Gestures That Can Improve Your Communication
Hand Gesture – Shelf sweep

This motion is used to convey that getting rid of a set of notions for some new ideas are important. Author John Rampton says, “This gesture requires the use of both hands and involves pushing aside the contents of an imaginary row of books in one direction.” 

Best selling author Vanessa Van Edwards, who calls this gesture “everything” adds that although it can be “used to say you are wiping the slate clean or pushing something out of the way,” we can also use the “everything” to make a grand gesture “as if you are sweeping across all of the ideas to be inclusive.

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Theo Harrison

Hey there! I am just someone trying to find my way through life. I am a reader, writer, traveler, fighter, philosopher, artist and all around nice guy. I am outdoor person but heavily into technology, science, psychology, spiritualism, Buddhism, martial arts and horror films. I believe in positive action more than positive thinking.View Author posts