Bimbo Banter

Have You Seen the Newest Hand Gesture?

  • Trends
  • August 11, 2016
  • by Merrie Spaeth

While we’re usually preaching about the importance of storytelling, we also pay attention to delivery skills (#PhelpsFace anyone?).

Here’s the latest: putting your left hand over your heart signifies that you feel deeply, are humbled by the attention or are very, very sincere about what you are saying. The heart/hand craze started with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who made it a signature campaign move.

Others have picked it up, most recently Hillary Clinton during her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. Clinton has also been tracked using the gesture before. It’s even made the top 13 list of “revealing hand gestures” compiled by body language specialist Nicholas Fradet.

Is this a good idea? Should you be practicing signaling “I care” with the heart/hand movement? Yes and no. Naturally, there are academics studying whether the gesture conveys honesty. They think it does.

But nothing is more distracting or the enemy of good communication than the discredited advice that your hand gestures should match your words—holding up three fingers for “three things,” making large arm gestures to show the “big picture,” etc.

If it looks like you’ve included this as a calculated effort to signal sincerity, the chances are you’ll look anything but sincere, particularly if anyone in your audience has seen the gesture from Trudeau or Clinton.

Generally, the best advice is to have great content (including relevant stories) and be energetically engaged with your audience. When that happens, your hand gestures usually take care of themselves.

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