Michael H. Schaefer, DTM

One on One Coach, Keynote Speaker, Leadership Trainer

The Putty In Your Hands, Pt. 2

If you’ve cut loose a little during a rehearsal and ‘danced’ your gestures without words, (See Pt. 1), then you’re already well on your way to matching your gestures to your words. By working from an expressive impulse, your gestures will most likely be in sync with your words. Both are expressing your thoughts.

Watch politicians for gestures. Frequently their consultants give them solid techniques. Some of them are actually good at integrating the solid feeling moves with their message.


Trouble may arise when you get too technical with the placement of a gesture in your speech. It’s a small step from saying to yourself, “I’ll raise my hands at the end of this sentence,” to looking like your moves are arbitrary or disconnected.

If the speech comes out slightly different or if the audience doesn’t react the way you expected (a funny line bombs, for example), and your pre-planned, big gesture happens in silence, then you’re up there with all kinds of egg on your face. Omelets worth.

That being said, your SHOULD plan to emphasize the important sentences of your speech. Everyone’s more interesting when they’re in the moment: ‘planned and canned’ puts them to sleep. (More on how to rehearse enough and deliver freshness another time.

When the message is important, let there be a pause, let there be a look, or let there be a full, natural gesture.

(Note the phrase ‘let there be.’ Allowingthe impulse is the right way to think about how you express your message. And you develop as a speaker.)
Next time: Who the heck are you?

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