People feel more comfortable when listening to a person that makes hand gestures while talking. Hand gestures in particular, give clues on how the speaker feels. The words of the speaker mainly revile thoughts.
I mentioned in the introduction the 6-key body-language gestures that are part of the inhaling REST.
When it comes to hand gestures, the procedure is that as we start to inhale, we gently drop our hand down to the side of the body.
This ensures that we do not continue “talking with our hands”, when we are no talking with our mouth.
Continuous hand-gesturing, may create a “gesturing overload”, we need to make pauses. A good time for pausing is on the inhale. No words said, no emotional subtitles.
Hand gestures are a bit like a puppet show. In an interesting show we may see two puppets and then one may disappear, then reappear again etc. The puppet show, should be coherent, consistent, and synchronized with the rest of our body- language and with the speech elements.
Open hand gestures are great, they define our space. Showing our palms, signals that we are not trying to hide something. Crossing the hands while gesturing is OK, as long as it is not static or rigid.
On the introduction I mentioned that when inhaling, we focus on authority and power. On the exhale we focus on warmth and sympathy. Part of being human is scratching the head and also covering the neck. On the exhale, it is OK to scratch with our hands, just need to remember and avoid crossing the body for scratching. If we scratch our head with the right hand, we tilt the head towards the hand, a very natural and human behavior.
When inhaling our hands should be symmetric, no scratching etc. Try one time to scratch your head while exhaling (that is while talking) and then try to scratch your head while inhaling. See if you can feel the difference between the two scratches.
Hand gestures are not always universal, we need to be aware of local nuances. A hand gesture in one culture, may mean the exact opposite in another culture. It is always good to do a bit of homework on local cultural-gestures, even though our world is getting smaller.