• Scott Stiefvater

Using hand gestures on Zoom.

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

Should you use your hands while speaking on Zoom? With few exceptions, the answer is yes.

It's natural for us to speak with our hands. That's not to say our hands must always gesture but try speaking emphatically while keeping your hands still at your side; it's not easy. We are designed to speak with our voice, face AND hands working together.

Hand gestures are for our listeners.

Watch a skilled speaker, like my friend and podcast partner, Jennifer Beaumont, and you'll notice that their hand gestures add a lot of meaning to their speaking. Although I've removed the audio from the clip below, you can still get a sense of what Jennifer is saying.

While your hand gestures may not yet have this same polish, they do help you to paint pictures of your ideas for your listeners, and that's a good thing.

But my hands look distractingly big.

Notice my hand seems a little big and imposing in the frame-grab below.

This visual distortion is a natural when viewing a three-dimensional space as a two-dimensional image; our sense of perspective gets out of whack and things that are closer to the lens appear unnaturally large. The closer the object, the more distorted the perspective.

Move back and keep your hands close.

Notice how Jennifer is sitting a little further back from her laptop than I am from mine, and she has her hand gestures closer to her chest.

This not only mitigates the distortion problem, but also allows her hands to fully enter the frame where they can do their job for the listener.

NOTE: Re: Speaking, the weekly podcast for emerging leaders who strive to be better speakers, launches Tuesday. I'll share the link both here on my blog and on my LinkedIn feed. Stay tuned!


© 2021 by Scott Stiefvater,

(anti) Presentation Coach


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