What Does Your Use of Your Hands Say About You?

· February 18, 2016

A while ago, I became aware of the fact that I am a natural-born gesturer, or manual speaker, depending how you want to look at it. It is true that when it comes to cataloging this particularity, there is still not an established term. Let’s say that I am one of those people who cannot sit there telling a story without adding hand motions.

“I am not what I am, I am what I do with my hands” 

Louise Bourgeois

This communication style shows especially when I want to provide energy to my messages, as if I wanted to push my words so that they will crash into my conversation partners with great force.

When I started my search for scientific information about this particularity, I initially thought that it only had to do with the level of natural expressivity that a person could have. However, recent articles confirm that this characteristic implies much greater social influence than we generally believe it to have.


Socially, we hold the belief that the action of gesturing with our hands is simply “a distractor” when it comes to communicating. It is also true that it depends on the case or the situation that we are talking about. However, you will agree with me that oftentimes, using our hands is more attractive and helps keep the people around us hanging on every word that we say.

A recent article on the topic in Forbes magazine supports the theory that people who speak with their hands develop better charisma. The habit of using our hands during vocal expression implies a high level of energy and attraction.

It allows the speaker to relate better to their listeners and gives them power inside the group where they happen to be speaking.

Two Hands Form Heart

Because of all of this, we are often valued as good leaders who, with our hand gestures, are better able to convince our listeners. Additionally, people with this particularity, when it comes time to use their hands in conjunction with their speech, present great sincerity, as we often have no control over our gesturing, thus expressing our emotions with confidence and transparency.

The Business Insider columnist Annie Paul confirms that this is also a hallmark of greater intelligence and perspicacity within a conversation.

In another study, researcher Albert Mehrabian presented the impact of a message through the following percentages: 7% verbal, 38% vocal, and 55% signs and gestures, nonverbal language. With this, we know that the verbal component is used to communicate information and the nonverbal to communicate personal states and activities. Mehrabian thus claims that in a conversation between two or more people, the verbal component makes up 35% and more than 65% is comprised of nonverbal communication.

Everything in us is expressive. When we are aware of the power of language, both verbal and nonverbal, our feelings become sharper and our intelligence develops. Knowing this, I would like to invite you to check out this video from the Stanford Graduate School of Business where you can get advice about using nonverbal language:

If you use your hands during personal communication, enjoy it. Surely you are being effective when you have to communicate and express your emotions with the people around you.

“My hands, my feet, have you changed to my great dreams”

-Roberto Obregón-