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Are Your Hands Crippled? No? Then Use These 19 Gestures

Hand Gestures used by top Indian actors

This Is A Science of Actors

  • Be the most memorable person in the audition room or on filming your scene
  • 18 Hand Gestures You Should Be Using

Crazy Facts About Hand Gestures:

  • You’re born to speak with your hands. Researchers have found that infants who use more hand gestures at 18-months old have greater language abilities later on. Hand gestures speak to great intelligence and definitely spice your performance whether you are an actor, singer, public speaker, candidate appearing for an interview or with clients or with bosses in your job. 
  • Hand gestures make people listen to you. Spencer Kelly, associate professor of Psychology and co-director of the Center for Language and Brain at Colgate University found that gestures make people pay attention to the acoustics of speech. Kelly said, “Gestures are not merely add-ons to language – they may actually be a fundamental part of it.”
  • We can’t help it. With most of us, hand gestures come to us naturally. Spencer even found that blind people use hand gestures when speaking with other blind people.
  • Gesturing helps you access memories. Using hand gestures while you speak not only helps others remember what you say, it also helps you speak more quickly and effectively!
  • Nonverbal explanations help you understand more. One study found that forcing children to gesture while they explained how to solve math problems actually helped them learn new problem-solving strategies.

How to Speak With Your Hands:

Before we get into a great hand gesture you can use, let’s talk about using your hands appropriately:
Use your hand gestures responsively getting created with lines as your normal reaction. No wild exaggerated gesturing, especially on the camera, please!

Stay in the box and  gesture within the box (in the context, with the lines you are speaking). Appropriate hand speaking space is (Especially while acting for the camera) from the top of your chest to the bottom of your waist. If you go outside this box, it’s seen as distracting and out of control. Here’s the difference:

There is a spectrum. Hand gestures are great up to a certain point.
Make your gestures purposeful. Just like a public speaker or an acting class teacher, 'bullet point' out a presentation, do the same with gestures. The best Talkers/ Actors use their hands purposefully to explain important points. Use the list below to guide you-

  • Study your script/lines carefully and know what you want to say. If you have a big dialog coming up, prepare your words, and rehearse with associated gestures . If you have to express without any lines, speak your emotions in your mind and just use your hands, silently. That would enlighten your performance. The more smooth the better. The audience loves fluid hand gestures. No jerky and robotic prepared moves. They are distracting. Practice speaking with your hands until it feels and looks natural.
  • Film yourself on your mobile and analyze your performance. Film yourself chatting with someone on the phone. Watch others talking on the phone. You might be surprised what kinds of gestures people use and how many you use during the conversation. Have a friend give you feedback on your gestures.

18 Hand Gestures You Should Be Using As An Actor:

After observing some of the best speakers and speeches in the world, we have collected our favorites for you to try. We put together some GIFs of the most popular ones. Remember, think about your verbal content and match your hand gestures to what you are saying:

1. Listing

The easiest and most basic hand gesture is numerical. ANY TIME you say a number while delivering a line, do the corresponding gesture–this makes for your viewers your dialog a true attention drawer creating a sudden interest. it also adds movement and warmth to your body language and serves as a nonverbal anchor in the conversation in a scene wit your co-actor.

2. A Tiny Bit

Anytime you want to emphasize a small point like something that they shouldn’t take too seriously or a small addition–show it! This is my favorite tiny trick with hand or just a finger/ fingers.

3. Listen Up!

This is a very strong gesture, so use it with caution. It is a “bottom line” hand gesture or “listen here” movement. The sound and motion draws attention and lets people know:  For example-“What I am about to say is important!”. In Hindi- ("Ab Jera Dhyan Se Suno")

4. I’m Determined!

Anytime you have a solid fist–shaking it at someone or punching it in the air, you are showing intensity. Use it alongside your delivery strengthens it as  a VERY important point. Be careful when using this gesture with an irritated voice, because it can come off as anger!

5. Everything

Want to make a big grand gesture? Then, the ‘everything’ gesture is your go to. It is as if you are sweeping across all of the ideas to be inclusive.
Alternate: This can also be used to say you are "pushing something out of the way". In Hindi (Ya To Abhi Paise Dai, Par Agar Kiraya Nahin Diya, To...(show gesture only which means Ghar Sai Bahar!)

6. Small, Medium, Large

This is a really easy one and can be used to literally show someone what level something is. You can use this to indicate how big or small something is or where someone stands. For example, you can use the high version along with “Look, Mom, how much money I have brought for you....look...look! ( Dekh Maa, Main Teray Liye Kitne Sare Paise Kama Ke Laya Haun...Dekh...Dekh Maa!)
It’s a pretty big deal” or the low version with “The light was entering from a small hole" or in Hindi "Bahut Chota Aadmi Hai Sala!"

Alternate: You can also use this as you talk about different stages as an alternate to the listing. For example, you could say, “We start with your vision” (low level), “then move on to your structure,” (medium level) and “we end most importantly on your finished product.”

7. Showing Dilemma

When in confusion or when indecisive

Rolling your hand around mouth or face or bring down your hand from the forehead down to the mouth, looking perplexed. Note: In the past when I used this gesture as an actor, additionally it always to calm while performing a tense scene

8. Let Me Tell You

Pointing should be used with caution. Viewers if at them, don’t like to be pointed at because it can be seen as accusatory or invasive. However, you can point to get someone’s attention or to literally make a point. For example, this gesture goes along well with: “You know, I just remembered something important.” or in Hindi-(Suno, Muzhe Kuch Bahut Jaruri Baat Yad Aaa Gayee)
“This one’s important.”
“Let me tell you something.”

9. Just a Part

This gesture can be used to demonstrate a very specific part of an idea. When you are talking about an aspect of something, this gesture can indicate that it is separate

10. I Am Great 

"I'm the Boss here"
In Hindi-("Main Yahan Sub-Kuch Hoon! Samzhe?" or "Main Yahan Ka Bhagwan Hoon!")

When you have both of your hands apart and palms facing towards the camera ( audience), it is a very "God-Like" pose. Use it when making a grand gesture.

11. Growth

Whenever you move your hand or gesture upwards, you indicate some kind of growth or increase. This can be used to indicate the expected growth, excitement or direction where something is headed.

12. Me

Anytime we bring our hands in towards our heart or chest, we usually want to indicate to ourselves. I have heard some top actors or sharp acting or speaking coaches (abroad) tell candidates to point towards themselves when talking about a fact or statement or anything positive and "be sure to be…".

13. This and That

Whenever you want to separate two different ideas or things, you can use your hands to symbolically represent them. For example, I might say we are totally different from them, using my left hand when I say “we” and my right hand when I say “them.” This is a great way to put distance between two things. in Hindi for example "Hum Alag Hain or Wo Alag"

14. Come Together

When you bring both of your hands together, it is a gesture of combining and is a great way to symbolically show two forces coming together as one. You can even mesh or fold your hands together to show complete togetherness.

15. It’s Just So

You can use your palms vertically with a rigid but quick slicing motion to demonstrate the need for precise measurement or to separate two things.
Alternate: This can also be used to demonstrate a tough stance on a point. For Example "that's it!'

16. I’m Not Hiding Anything

When your hands are at a 45-degree angle with the palms facing up, you are showing openness and honesty. It’s like you are saying you are laying all the facts in front of them or on the table.
Alternate: When your palms face up also lifting your shoulders and eyebrow up, it means you are seeking " I'm right, isn't it?". In Hindi "Sahi Hai Ne?.

17. You Listen to Me

Hands with finger pointing should be facing up, out or vertical when speaking. It is commanding. If you have a very strong directive or order you can use it. Be careful not to use this gesture by default!

18 Stop! 

When you flash your palm at someone, you want them to pause or stop. You can do this while anyone is speaking and they will almost instantly be quiet. I was with an actor who was portraying a character of a CEO once, and he practiced the habit of doing it to his employees in a scene when he was done listening. It was a powerful though horribly offensive gesture.
Milder but effective alternative: You can also do this when asking a question–it’s a universal attention grabber.

19. We

The last one can be the most powerful. This gesture can be used whenever you are speaking to a group or to an audience. You open up your arms as if you are wrapping them in a hug, making the ‘we’ gesture. You can also do this when standing next to someone and actually and your hands behind him as if to indicate you are in my inner circle. It is a lovely ‘come together’ gesture when used correctly.


Here are a few ways to implement these gestures:

  • First, try one or two out at a time. Too many at once is overcrowding and too dramatic (not recommended for the camera unless director approves it).
  • Second, I would use them first on the phone–where no one can see you or with close friends, so you can practice and try without being worried about how you look.

Based on

This post first appeared on Best Actor Academy, please read the originial post: here

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Are Your Hands Crippled? No? Then Use These 19 Gestures


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