What should I do with my when I speak?

The first way to answer this is to consider what you shouldn't do with your .

Sometimes energy “bleeds” into our and we don't even know it. We see speakers clasping their hands in front of their bodies. Some people unconsciously play with their hair or pinch their chins.

Step one is to be conscious of what your hands are doing.

Use your hands to make deliberate . If you're unconsciously waving your hands around, you might be distracting your audience from your message.

And the rest of the

Let your hands drop to your sides; they'll be there when you need them, and that will cue the audience to on your words and on your face.

Or, if it feels “stiff” to keep your hands at your sides, some speakers like to keep their hands low and their palms facing outward in a subtle gesture of giving.

This feels a bit contrived to me but it has its merits.

Most important: be yourself.

If you're one of those people who naturally talks with your hands, energy wasted on self-conscious restraint will probably harm your .

If you're naturally subdued, practice a few basic hand to add to your .

Count your three points on three fingers.

Make a fist when you share an angry moment.

Put your hands together during a moment of desperation.

like these are natural and intuitive, and they're connected to your words and not to any unconscious expression of nervousness.

As with many elements of stagecraft, if you work on effective hand gestures during rehearsal, they'll soon become natural elements of your .