What should I do with my hands?

When you’re on stage, what do you do with your hands?

It’s one of the most common questions we get. Personally, I suspect you already know what to do with your hands, but the best answer is actually kind of zen, so we reserve it for more advanced courses. In the meantime, here are two quick tips to get you started…

First, hold them up to the sky and start praying.

Just kidding.


First, bend your elbows and hold your hands close together. Don’t raise your hands so high you touch your nose, just hold them a little higher than your elbows, kind of like you’re discreetly praying. Be careful about clasping your hands — once you get up on stage, you might get really nervous, and your hands will end up desperately holding onto each other, and that tightness will spread through your body.

Here’s the second tip:

Drop your hands to your sides. Touch your index fingers to your thumbs.

And here’s a third, bonus tip. Perhaps it’s the best tip of all, the start of all that is good:

Hold your hands in front of you, about belly height, and face your palms up. In almost all countries, this is a gesture of openness, of invitation. It invites your audience to participate in your speech, not just listen to it.

Combine that last gesture with some eye contact, and you’re golden. Your audience will be eating out of your palm (no pun intended).

Why is that the start of all that is good? Well, that’s a more complicated issue, and so we reserve it for more advanced courses.