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Revealed: The FIVE gestures that will make you instantly likeable and credible – and Prince Harry and Barack Obama have mastered them
- Body language expert Carole Railton has identified five effective gestures
- Analysed popular TED Talks to find the five most used positive gestures
- Pointing to audience will increase attention as people feel included
- A hand on the heart indicates sincerity and implores people to engage
Nerves are natural when you have to communicate with new people, whether your audience is big are small, but there is a guaranteed way to captivate anyone you encounter and it’s all down to body language.
Experts believe that more than 50 per cent of communication is nonverbal, meaning that your stance and gestures are arguably more important than what you actually say.
Using the right body language when you speak can enhance your credibility, reinforce your message, body language expert Carole Railton has analyses a series of popular TED talks to find the five most used positive gestures.
The royal is particularly good at engaging those he’s speaking with by making sure he gestures towards his audience, making people feel involved and increasing their attention.
Read on to discover Carole’s findings, based on her reasearch for The UK Domain a registry for small businesses and individuals.
Gesturing toward the audience like Barack Obama helps to form a connection and makes people feel directly engaged according to body language expert Carole Railton
Gesturing towards the audience
‘This gesture helps to guide and engage your audience. Involving the audience increases their attention and helps them to form a connection with you,’ Carole said.
‘You can also look around at the audience, making sure to make eye contact, and get them involved by asking for feedback and interaction.
‘Don’t be afraid to point to the audience; this is a confident gesture that engages audience members directly.’
Prince Harry, 34, is particularly adept at engaging an audience in this way.
Pointing or gesturing towards an audience like Prince Harry, pictured at the Invictus Games closing ceremony in Toronto in September 2017, will make people feel included and prompt them to pay more attention
Touching of the heart
This helps to depict the speaker as earnest, and shows a depth of feeling for the story being told.
Touching the heart implores the audience to believe and engage with the story or a particular point being made.
Touching the head while making a point similarly expresses deep thought and asks the audience to think about the words being spoken. Pairing these gestures with a smile or animated facial expression allows the audience to warm to you and your words.
Malala Yousafzai, pictured in Philadelphia in 2014, places her hand over her heart, a gesture that indicates sincerity and depth of feeling about the story being told
Raising hands above waist level
‘This is a good place to keep your hands as it allows you to better direct and signal the points you are making,’ Carole explained.
‘Make sure to keep your arms open, signalling an open personality and a willingness to engage with the audience, and relax your hands to convey confidence.
‘Strong gestures that follow and animate your words can also aid in keeping the audience’s attention focused on the story told or points being made.’
The Duchess of Sussex, giving an off the cuff speech at the launch of a charity cookbook at Kensington Palace last month. The gesture indicates an open personality and a willingness to engage with the audience
Leaning in towards the audience
‘Protruding your head forward shows an eagerness to relay your information to the audience and indicates you are comfortable speaking to them,’ said Carole.
‘Pushing your head forward also signals having lots of ideas and thoughts, and key points can be emphasised by raising the head or shoulders.
‘Don’t be afraid to agree with yourself and nod along to key points being made, asking the audience to take note.’
Former US president Barack Obama perfected this kind of gesture during his time in office.
Protruding your head forward like Barack Obama, pictured in Montreal in June 2017, shows the audience that you’re comfortable with them and therefore encourages people to relax
Maintaining a symmetrical stance
‘A strong and symmetrical stance depicts confidence and the audience are more likely to absorb information from someone they view as balanced,’ Carole said.
‘Take centre stage and show your power and confidence right from the beginning; hands on the hips are a particularly powerful indicator of leadership.
‘It’s important to stay natural, utilise your space, and let your comfort on stage shine through to the audience.’
Canadian president Justin Trudeau is someone who isn’t afraid to use the space around in him a confident manner.
If you’re comfortable on stage like Justin Trudeau, pictured at Chinguacousy Park in Brampton in September, you should utilise the space for bold gestures
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The FIVE gestures that will make you instantly likeable and credible