PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

This question comes up regularly in public speaking workshops.

Traditionally, the answer is “No.”  Some speakers will distract the audience by playing with change in their pockets.  Others will stop gesturing and become less dynamic.  Still others will risk coming across too laid back and casual for the occasion.

For these reasons and others, a no-hands-in-pockets rule is generally a good idea.

I say “generally” because this rule, like many speaking rules, can be broken for good reasons.

If, for example, you want to deliberately affect a casual demeanor, putting one hand in your pocket for short periods of time is effective.  I’ll do this sometimes when I am facilitating a discussion as part of a presentation.  I want everyone to feel comfortable and participate, so I make a point of acting relaxed and comfortable myself.

Just remember when you break this “rule” that it’s best to limit yourself to one hand in a pocket and then only for short periods.  Gesture with the other hand and then get back to two-handed gesturing in short order.

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