Whenever I’m interviewing somebody or watching someone being interviewed on television, I often marvel at the gyrations being performed, along with the words being spoken.
I should say this is also an affliction suffered by some TV hosts who find it either attractive or compulsory to engage in gesticulation. But unless you are explaining, step-by-step, how to climb a tree or demonstrating how you caught that big fish, relax your hands and arms and let your mouth do the work.
Here’s the problem: the gestures, finger-pointing, hand jabs, arm-spreading and air-stabbing are distracting. How do the important words you have to say relate to the gestures? Probably not all at which just makes it more distracting.
I think, having observed it in thousands of people, that hand gestures also affect oral delivery. While you are jabbing away, you are inclined to be more emphatic, maybe more emotional, or even angry when maybe that was not the focus of what you meant to say at all. Don’t let your hands influence your voice.
I also know that for some, the hand herky-jerky is a way to keep nervousness under control. Let the hands do the work maybe they will up your word game. Not likely.
Over-active hand motions are also a tip off a sign that you have not had much experience being interviewed or being on TV. Look at some of the people who are often in front of the camera and are well-seasoned and comfortable being there. No hand gestures. Or very, very few at exactly the right moment.
Takes me back to the old saying, first you learn the rules before you learn how to break them.
That’s where a performance professionals come in handy. They can show you how to make a meaningful gesture that enhances your words.
You often don’t get much time in front of the camera. Make the most of it. Maybe they’ll invite you back…or give you your own show.