Wondering what to do with your hands during a TV interview?
Here are 5 things to consider.
1️⃣ Open or Closed?
Both. Keep your hands open as much as possible while you’re speaking. This helps to build trust with your audience and shows that you have nothing to hide. When you’re listening and not speaking, relax and rest your hands in a natural position on the table, podium or in your lap.
2️⃣ Up or Down?
Up. Gesture your hands slightly upwards. As a general rule, your hand gestures should be between your shoulders and waist. Avoid gesturing too high since it will cover your face. And avoid gesturing too low – it’s distracting.
3️⃣ In or Out?
Out. Reach your hands outwards away from your body. It’s inviting and shows that you’re offering your information. When you hold your hands or gesture too closely to your body, you’ll look nervous and defensive.
4️⃣ Descriptive or Emotional?
Both. You can gesture with the purpose to describe or visualize something. For example, pinch your fingers if you’re trying to describe the size of a tiny object. Or show three fingers or count on your fingers to visualize that you’re explaining three different points. You can also gesture to show emotion such as excitement or curiosity. Just be careful to not use the same hand gesture over and over as it can become boring and disingenuous.
5️⃣ Hold Something or Don’t Hold Something?
Depends. If you’re doing a show and tell or a cooking demonstration, then it’s definitely OK (and often necessary) to hold something in your hands. One of my favourite TV journalists actually holds a pen as she listens and speaks. She’s super organized and likes to highlight her notes. It’s natural for her and it works. However, it’s a no-no if you’re clicking a pen or clenching your speaking notes.
😊 Your homework: Practice your hand gestures in front of a mirror to find what looks and feels natural for you!