Category Archives: Gestures and Body Language

Unlock the Power of Nonverbal Cues: Learn How the Right Rest Positions Can Enhance Your Presentation!

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Speaking in front of a large group can be intimidating, and it can be challenging to understand how to use your nonverbal cues, especially body language, to effectively convey your message. Body language is an essential part of a successful presentation, and the rest positions you use are an important part of this. In this blog post, we’ll explore how the right rest positions can contribute to the success of your presentation.

There are some simple rest positions to help you feel more confident and keep your hands in check during presentations. From pretending to hold a string or pencil, to creating a tent or gate with your hands, to resting on a chair or flip chart stand, there are a variety of rest positions available. Let’s take a closer look at each of these options and discuss how to use them to the best effect when presenting.

The “String” or “Pencil” Position

This rest position is a wonderful way to feel more grounded and in control. When in this position you are less likely to fidget or wave your hands around aimlessly. To achieve this, hold an imaginary 6″ piece of string between your hands. You can move your hands but only as far as the imaginary piece of string will allow. The pencil technique entails holding an actual pencil between both hands and then perhaps utilizing it to point to a visual aid. After a period, you may decide to put the pencil down and use a different rest position. Utilize a wooden pencil here, since it doesn’t have any distracting clips or buttons to press or flick.

Remember not to hold any rest position for too long, as it may start to look unnatural. Five to ten seconds may be a good duration.

The “Tent” or “Gate” Formation

The tent is an excellent position to use when you want to rest your hands but also emphasize a particular point or add emphasis to a statement. In this position, your fingertips come together in a “tent” shape. For example, you may say “to begin, we need to reach out to our customers through various contact points.” As you say this you bring your fingertips together and hold for a brief period, resting there as you make your point.

Alternatively, your hands can be placed together in a “gate” shape with your palms facing you and your hands overlapping. Be careful here as this may be perceived as closing yourself off to your audience. As with our tent technique, use it to describe the point you are trying to make. For example, you may say “In order to ensure internet security, we need to establish levels of separation between these two processes.” As you say this you bring your hands together hold and pause until your point is made.

Resting on a Chair

This position can be used as a break from other hand gestures. It’s a casual position and is typically used for smaller group presentations where you know the audience. Put a chair to the slide of you with the seat facing away and place one hand on the back of the chair. Typically, the chair will belong to a table, rather than a random chair at the front of the room without any other function. This position is height dependent and may not work if you are tall, so make sure you rehearse it.

Resting on a Flip Chart Stand

Resting your hands on a flip chart stand or a freestanding whiteboard is another option if you are facilitating a discussion. This is a great way to take a break and to give yourself a moment to think. Simply stand next to the chart or board, put one hand on the frame facing the audience, and hold your pen in the other.

In conclusion, we know that the proper use of rest positions as part of a broader nonverbal communication strategy can help you feel more confident and in turn, will engage the audience and make your message memorable.

Stop Talking and Start Gesturing: 8 Ways to Make an Impact with Nonverbal Communication.

Nonverbal communication is an important part of any interpersonal interaction. It encompasses a wide range of behaviors, including gestures, facial expressions, body language, and eye contact. Nonverbal communication is often referred to as the “unspoken language” and is a powerful tool for conveying messages and emotions.

Gestures are an especially powerful form of nonverbal communication and are used to supplement verbal communication. Gestures can be used to indicate a desire or need, to show approval, or to ask for help. There are a variety of different gestures that can be used, and the specific gesture that is used will depend on the culture and context in which it is being used.

One of the most popular forms of body language and gestures used in public speaking is the Laban Eight Efforts: Punch, Slash, Dab, Flick, Press, Wring, Glide, and Float. By incorporating these movements into your presentation, you can emphasize your points and create an impactful presentation.

Below we have provided a description of each of these movements and provided a link to The Drama Coach, Lisa Southam’s YouTube channel, where you can see each of these demonstrated.

Punch Gesture

Laban Punch is a powerful gesture that involves a quick thrusting action with your arm, as if punching someone. This gesture is great for expressing anger, frustration, or intense emotion. It can also be used to emphasize the importance of a point. The Drama Coach – Punch

Slash Gesture

Slash is a gesture that involves a slicing motion with your arm. This gesture can be used to draw attention to a particular point or to suggest confidence and authority. The Drama Coach – Slash

Dab Gesture

Dab is a gesture that involves a downward motion of your arm, as if dabbing something away. This gesture is often used to express dismissal or to convey a more casual attitude. The Drama Coach – Dab

Flick Gesture

Flick is a gesture that involves a quick movement of your arm, as if flicking something away. This gesture can be used to indicate dismissal or to punctuate a point. The Drama Coach – Flick

Press Gesture

Press is a gesture that involves a pressing motion of your arm, as if pressing something down. This gesture can be used to emphasize a point or to express determination. The Drama Coach – Press

Wring Gesture

Wring is a gesture that involves twisting your arm, as if wringing something out. This gesture can be used to express frustration or to draw attention to a particular point. The Drama Coach – Wring

Glide Gesture

Glide is a gesture that involves a slow, graceful movement of your arm, as if gliding through the air. This gesture can be used to suggest a feeling of freedom or movement. The Drama Coach – Glide

Float Gesture

Float is a gesture that involves a light, floating motion of your arm, as if floating on air. This gesture can be used to express a feeling of peace or contentment. The Drama Coach – Float

By incorporating these powerful gestures into your public speaking, you can capture the attention of your audience and make your presentation memorable. With practice and confidence, you can become a more effective public speaker and make a lasting impression.

So who was Rudolph Laban?

Rudolf Laban was a Hungarian-Austrian dancer and choreographer who is known as the father of modern dance. Born in 1879, Laban was one of the most influential figures in the history of modern dance, helping to develop its scientific foundations and introducing a system of movement analysis and evaluation.

Throughout his career, Laban wrote numerous books and articles, including Kinetographie, a book on the mechanics of movement, The Movement Alphabet, a book about body language, and The Dynamics of Movement, which focused on the physics of movement. He also wrote a series of essays on the history of dance and its relationship to human behavior. Laban’s work was recognized by the International Dance Council and in 1984, he was inducted into the Dance Hall of Fame. Today, his legacy lives on through the work of his students, who continue to explore and develop the principles of modern dance.