During your presentation or speech, you’ll likely be the focus of attention with the audience zoned in on your behavior. Many effective speakers’ gesture with their upper body (mainly arms and hands) to help convey and clarify information. The most effective speakers are mindful of their “Gesture Window”.
Your ‘Gesture Window” is a term used to describe the area that extends vertically from your waist to your neck, and horizontally about six inches outside of each shoulder. The majority of your gestures should be displayed in this space. Gesturing inside of this space demonstrates to the audience that you, as a speaker, are composed, controlled, and methodical. Gesturing outside of this area can signal to the audience that you’re uncontrolled or erratic.
Gesturing outside of the “Gesture Window” occasionally for effect is fine, but be mindful not to venture outside of your space too often. Throughout your presentation, you should aim to be remembered as well-prepared and professional. Practicing your delivery, with gestures, in front of a mirror works well for this purpose.