By Tamara Carrillo McLeod February 8, 2023


During a recent trip to Italy, I had the opportunity to run VOICE, our communications workshop, for a group of Directors and VP’s. On the subject of non-verbal communication, a VP asked, “Tamara, what should I do with my hands when I present?” I asked, “What do you normally do with your hands?” He told me that he’s a very passionate and expressive person, and that in Italy it’s common to speak with your hands and through non-verbal gestures. As he was talking, I witnessed all of his natural personality and his passion. His non-verbals were beautifully expressive, big, confident and endearing.

 I could see he was waiting for me to tell him exactly how to use his hands, what he was doing right or wrong, and what needed to change. Instead, I suggested that he continue to move his hands as he normally would. He looked at me with both puzzlement and relief.  I then said the most important thing was to remain authentic to who he is. If he normally talks with his hands, and then suddenly dialed back his non-verbals, chances are other elements of his communication skills would suffer, such as his confidence, verbal communication or audience connection.

I shared that we would record him presenting and take a closer look at his non-verbals to see if there were any movements, expressions, etc…that could potentially be hindering his communication or distracting the audience. We could then make some slight modifications as needed. Here’s the bottom line:

 AUTHENTICITY IS THE KEY TO CONNECTION. In the end, your audience is not craving perfection, they are craving connection.

It is essential that your non-verbals are an expression of who you are. While there are always areas where you can grow to ensure you are being the best version of yourself, the key is to never lose yourself in the process

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