According to Jesse Scinto, Deputy Academic Director of the M.S. in Strategic Communication program, there are three categories of hand gesture one might use for public speaking. The key is knowing when to use them.
Scinto’s expertise on the use of body language in public speaking was featured in the September edition of Toastmasters International magazine. Cited alongside fellow body language experts Vanessa Van Edwards and David JP Phillips, Scinto says that hand gestures fall into three buckets: dramatic (“used to act out scenes or actions being described”), emphatic (“to drive home or underscore a point”) and orchestrated (“the scripted kind often used by television broadcasters to help clarify or highlight messages”).
“It’s important to make a conscious decision about which of the three gestures you’ll use for specific purposes,” he says.
Scinto also offers advice on walking, standing still and when to do each when speaking on stage or in front of an audience.