While illustrative gestures show visual pictures, emphatic gestures try to define emotions We stab, hammer, punch, flutter, and wring with our hands to show anger, frustration, concern, and anxiety or worry When you use emphatic gestures you ensure your listener understands your strength of feeling This is as long as they're congruent If your gestures play against your message they'll confuse it For instance, imagine a politician who is canvassing for votes She says her party will lower income tax to generate wealth for everyone However when the politician uses the word "lower" she pushes her hand, palm up, upward into the air And when she uses the word "everyone" her hands point toward her own chest This is where the emphatic gestures fail to do the business

Prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown tended to time-share the same emphatic gestures When they were canvassing votes they'd both use what I call the Matador Stab, pointing both index fingers downward and jabbing them toward the lectern This emphatic gesture would be too over the top for normal use but as an accompaniment to verbal displays of commitment and "nailing their point" it worked every time They also shared a love of a measuring gesture, holding both hands out face-to-face, about ten inches apart, fingers stretched flat This gesture would be moved around in the air, going to the left (their left) to signal previous problems and to the right to show plans for the future By employing both hands in the same gesture they appeared to be fully committed to their thought as both their left brain and their right brain were in agreement It's rare to use an emphatic gesture that employs both hands in sync like this . Usually we tend to gesture more with one hand than the other

Continue reading here: Schematic or mime signals

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