I find that I'm able to convince people of things and explain abstract concepts with much more ease than other people. This holds true even if I don't fully understand the idea I'm explaining. Something about being able to "mold" the space in front of me lends another dimension to weave the fabric of language around.
As a personal anecdote: I won the Marconi-Samueli Award for an app I built when I was 14 called MathSuite. It could parse algebraic equations and yield a result, and it did so offline (think Wolfram Alpha). I'd built the thing from scratch, and on the day of presentation, my computer had crashed and I couldn't ship a version of that app that would run.
Somehow, I convinced the judges of the veracity of the screenshots and claims on my presentation poster, and explained to them the potentially huge ramifications of my app, without being able to demonstrate it working. One judge commented that I had a "very expressive and mature style of explanation" — really, I think my hand gestures were a huge part of it.
I think you're right.
Slightly related, I can't find the research, but I read research that teachers apparently explain concepts more understandable when they use accompanying hand gestures.
Oh and also, when explaining statistics, don't use decimal numbers like 0.001%, just multiply it by a big number like 10000 and you can use whole numbers again. So of the one million people in our country, 100 experience XYZ. There also have been multiple papers on that one (can't find them ).
Those are two my pedagogical tips of the day :P
 Okay, I'm too lazy, it'd take me 15 to 30 min. to find both of them, since they come from my psychology time between 2012 and 2015.
Maybe it was this one?
I also learned to do this from my father, who was a trial lawyer. When I joined the US Army, I regularly got 'smoked' in basic training for talking with my hands. I stoped doing it for several years. A few years after leaving the Army it came back subconsciously.
I also attribute much of my persuasiveness to my ability to convey a story in an animated fashion.
What does this mean, and why is it bad?
Also, you can’t stand at attention and gesticulate at the same time.
In my case it was the fact that I was smiling a lot, for which I was hazed constantly.
I failed classes because I was busy building an app people said was worthless, and had to transfer schools because of it.
That app then won me 2nd place in the national science fair and an asteroid named after me and some $15,000 in prizes.
Then, after I won that science fair and experienced great success with it, I came home and fell into a terrible bought of major depression and anxiety. Being depressed and holed up in my room I did nothing but study cryptography and blockchains and buy cryptocurrencies. I flunked more classes, but I tested out of high school a few days after I turned 16. Then I went to work at a battery cooling startup making parts for the Mars Rover, which I promptly got fired from. But by then I had Bitcoin money and I went traveling with it. I bounced for a year around Europe, where I first had the idea for Assembl (which was just acquired). Somehow I ended up at the door of a Swiss VC and pitched them on the idea, and so the story continues.
I could go on. These oscillations have been pretty constant throughout my life. As I’ve begun to understand the pattern, I’ve found better ways of surfing these waves.
Using gestures to reinforce the idea of how these separate objects are related... this node is the peer of that one, this server runs these two services, etc.
It helps that I usually have a good idea of which concepts the listener has some knowledge of, and which need further explanation or simplification.
Naturally, I picked this habit up myself. So, when I speak English, I use hand gestures all over the place -- as if I'm talking my mother tongue. I live in Boston, where I think talking with your hands isn't particularly popular... So in the last couple years I've been trying to lose this habit. My experience thus far has been pretty interesting and challenging. At times, it feels like talking without consonants, because for certain ideas my hand movement doesn't feel any less important than the words themselves.
What made you come to that conclusion, or are you spending all your time amongst a very particular subset of the Boston population?
This has stuck with me my entire life, and I have a very real urge to mimic that behavior in the civilian world when someone begins using their hands during speech. Right or wrong, I don't know (and don't care), but that's the "talking with your hands" story that has been burned in my brain since being an uppity 18 year old.
In D&D, there's somatic, verbal, and material components to spell casting. Somatic components are the precise hand movements to aid in spell casting. That fictional idea/meme had to have been generated by some real-world phenomena, no?
Edit to expand: I also think this may be why even beyond the military there seems to be a widespread stigma against gesturing while speaking. Not that a majority of people look down on it, but that some significant percentage tend to do so at least.
It might seem unfair to some parties to have these extra gestures "used" on them to convince them of things that go beyond what the words they use actually mean. I know personally, I much much prefer to read what politicians said, via a transcript, rather than watch them speak. Their body language + gestures + tones can really change perceptions so significantly that I don't want to let myself be preventably persuaded by otherwise disagreeable positions.
Totally agree that tactical communication requires brevity and clarity.
Could that have been part of learning to use your voice in a noisy (battle) environment where you may need to communicate with people who can't see you?
Internet access at home not being a thing at the time (at least in my country) meant we believed most if not all of that stuff. People are much more skeptical now than a couple of decades ago, to the point that claiming hand gestures slightly improve communication requires full blown studies to back it up. And I'm 100% fine with it.
If I didn’t need hands to type that’s probably how I would also deliver most of my comments here on HN.
Is this self-confidence, making you feel you know what you are talking about?
Or do you think it convinced/conned the audience by using such as a dubious visual prop?
Cant help but think of him when people do that. It’s also prescribed to people as a confidence-booster, so it makes me a little more skeptical of someone when they pull that, ‘specially with a contemplative pause.
Ok so surely "contented" isn't anything to do with finger tents?! ... Apparently it's from the Latin contentus, from continere "to hold together, enclose".
"Sense connection of "contained" and "satisfied" probably is that the contented person's desires are bound by what he or she already has"
That does sound more than accidentally related to hand-tenting! You are actually displaying your enclosure, your container.
 Spanish has "contener" – to contain, include, control, repress, hold back. Corresponding to contentus is "contenido" – contained, held back, (noun) contents, (adj) reserved, restrained.
That aside, I'm reading Adam Grants "Think Again." He mentioned at least one study where appearing infallible can be a bad thing. That you can become less believable, less likeable and so on. There's more to influencing others than coming across as Mr / Ms Know-it-all. Showing too much confidence can work against you.
In fact, the actual recent study finds a specific lexical stress effect, but this piece mixes it with different research about different movements.
Guess it might have inadvertently helped me. People have always said I’m quite persuasive, maybe this is part of it.
A lot of zoom calls don't show hand gestures. PowerPoint is always turning your attention away from the speaker.
Knowing how to use OBS has also been useful in helping some non-profit organizations get their remote interactions dialed in.
We've tested people in tens of thousands of live performance coaching sessions and discovered that most people can be approximately divided into four body language groups based on which parts of their body "want" to move.
If you try to think about moving body parts that don't "want" to move, you will sound distracted when speaking, and other parts will mostly hold still.
If you think about parts that DO want to move, you will sound expressive, and other parts of your anatomy will join in naturally. E.g. if you are wired for Head, neck and shoulders—what we call zone 1, and think about making faces when speaking, your hands will begin to gesture. But if you think about using your hands, your gestures will be stiff and you will sound distracted.
Actors who perform voice over know that energetic body language is required. Our interactions with and tests of aspiring and experienced actors have been through 78 voice acting events where we record as many at 350 live performance coaching sessions in a day, and through the several group classes we do every week through our business the School of Acting and Voiceover.
In all, my wife Sarah and I have done around 30,000 live coaching sessions.
Our advice to actors is to determine which of the four "zones" you are most wired for, and consciously expand your use of movement in that zone to sound both more expressive, and more authentic.
It's as if you need to tell your subconscious "these are the allowable and expected motions during the upcoming activity" or you will be more tight, anxious and unnatural. The four zones are:
1) Head, neck and shoulders. Common tip: Tilt your head slightly and reposition some part of your face (raised eyebrow, parted lips, etc) before speaking
2) Hands, arms and shoulders. Common tip: Keep your wrists above your elbows at all times to allow natural gestures to occur, as hands are psychologically difficult to lift when they drop below elbows.
3) Body posture. Common tip: Dance a bit before speaking, or, while keeping your feet planted and your head facing forwards, rotate your shoulders 90° left then 90° right.
4) Whole body (everything moves). Common tip: Plan the posture and movements you will use as you begin speaking to consciously set a more expressive starting point.
Most of our training programs are not available publicly. Though we have advertised in the past, most of our students have come through referrals over the last 15 years, partly because we have hired people at all levels of our industry to come be coaches, and they know we base much of our training on how they themselves work with people in the industry.
We currently only train remotely (e.g. via Zoom), though we maintain an in-person training center (currently used mostly for storage). Although SchoolofVoiceover.com has some public learning content, most of our content (about 1,000 articles) is only available through a private, invitation-only forum.
you're getting downvoted anyway tho!
Red flag. That's not science.
Having "probable cause" to test a hypothesis is an important part of science. Testing neutral hypotheses is only a recipe for pointless p-hacking, I'd say that's not science.
Languages exist as part of culture. To extrapolate and assume that these Dutch results will translate into other languages, because languages are translatable and therefore equivalent, is to ignore culture.
For the same reason that what you know as "hand waving" is not neutral, the proposition deserves to be investigated rigorously in a way that isolates cultural signals from language, to the extent possible. That's a significant experimental challenge that warrants a scientific objectivity which is compromised by presuming the result.
But I may be reading too much into this, because I'm giving a reason why the results might translate. The original researchers don't even give that. They just say they think it will, without giving a reason. That's not science - it is speculation.
I'm fine with speculation and opinions. They have their uses and contexts. All I'm saying is that speculation and opinions are not science. The value of science arises precisely from where expectations are upended by experimental data.
As far as I can tell they aren't claiming that their research generalizes, only that they expect it will.