Make Use Of Your Face

It’s no secret that the hands and the face, the most expressive parts of the body, have a language all their own that accompanies speech and other human interaction. For example, light touching of the face often indicates nervousness, and lightly covering the mouth while speaking is linked with deception.

Good stage actors have a ready repertoire of hand-to-face gestures for conveying a character’s state of mind. The hand-to-mouth gesture with a closed fist indicates a character’s dishonesty, and is often punctuated by a fake cough, as if the cough, and not the lie, were the reason for putting a hand to the mouth.

The look of shock and fear is often amplified by lightly touching the sides of the face with the fingertips, while at the same time widening the eyes. Sorrow or sadness can be effectively conveyed with fingers lightly spread and palms touching the face.

Most everyone is familiar with the “facepalm,” or putting the face in the open palm as a sign of having done something stupid. Rapidly waving one’s hands in front of the face, with palms facing the other person indicates belief that the other person is full of nonsense.

But perhaps people need more help in avoiding these revealing gestures than in doing them. Even people who aren’t interested in deceiving people may want to avoid looking nervous or incompetent when meeting someone or giving a speech.

There’s nothing wrong with writing directions into any notes you use when giving a speech. They might say “raise arms to indicate size of fish,” or “emphasize your surprise by touching sides of face, widening eyes.” It’s even better if you commit your entire speech and planned body language to memory by practising.

If you are speaking to people while sitting down, perhaps while giving testimony in a court matter, it is wise to avoid touching your face if you can do it without fidgeting too much. Politicians are often pictured or videotaped touching their faces while speaking, and we all know what most people’s opinion of politicians is!

Once you know your own gesturing habits and how they might be interpreted, you can more easily project the confidence you want when meeting others or speaking to a group

Joyce

edited by: Logen