Talking With Yours Hands
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I find it interesting how people use their hands when they
talk, kind of like a comedy routine. Just about everyone does it, yours truly
included. We use our hands to emphasize a point, exemplify something, but more
than anything we use them to command the attention of our audience. So much so,
people tend to use hands as a second set of lips. Actually, I do not believe we
can help ourselves as we tend to emulate everyone also suffering from the same
I find it difficult to talk without the use of hands, and it
seems the people who can do so are few and far between (and generally tend to be
quite boring). Comedians and politicians often use their hands to emphasize a
point. In fact, some people are better remembered not for what they said, but
how they said it instead. Comedian Jack Benny exemplifies the point of someone
who is better remembered for his mannerisms than his jokes. Jack could get a
laugh simply by looking at people or using his hands.
The occasional hand gesture is fine but it becomes somewhat
distracting and annoying when you start using your hands excessively thereby
taking on the appearance of an animated windmill. Those who are deaf have a
legitimate excuse, but the rest of us do not want to suffer with someone who
seems to be going through mime school.
I tend to believe there are three types of active uses of the
hand for communications: what I call "The Fencer," "The
Gunslinger," and "The Punctuator." "The Fencer" (aka "The
Boxer") uses his hands to swirl, parry and thrust himself in a debate; in
his mind, he is in the midst of a dual with an opponent, but with a lot of
finesse and footwork. Make no mistake, such histrionics represent a contest to
dominate or win over an opponent. Then we have "The Gunslinger" who uses
his hands less than the others, often keeping them hidden in his pockets as he
contemplates a response to a question, but when he responds, out come the hands
like six-guns blazing and shooting down his opponent. The "Punctuator"
tends to be less threatening and more academic in nature. Here, hands are used
to highlight a point, such as using two fingers on both hands to make the
"quotes" sign, or an exclamation point, an underline or a period. Do we tend to
favor one form over another? Sometimes, but I tend to believe we use all three
forms to suit our needs in a conversation.
What I find most interesting in our use of hands is that we are
usually not cognizant we are using them in our daily discourse. Sometimes I will
parody a friend when I notice they are speaking excessively with their hands.
This usually results in a look of total surprise as they were unaware of the use
of their hands. It's all very subliminal.
Using our hands is a natural part of the way we
communicate. However, if you are worried you use your hands excessively, either
ask your friends, or better yet, try sitting on your hands during a
conversation. If one or both hands pop out, you probably use them to excess.
Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.
Keep the Faith!
Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their
Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce &
Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience
in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Download Tim's new eBook (PDF), "Bryce's Pet
Peeve Anthology - Volume I" (free) DOWNLOAD).
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-06-07 23:24:08 in Personal Articles