We talk a lot about personal branding and its importance in raising the profile of business leaders and the recruitment agencies they represent. New research has revealed how body language – to be specific, gesturing – has been shown to make people more successful when pitching for new business or investment.
Researchers at Erasmus University have found that when people use their hands to explain an idea, buyers (your prospective clients) were 12% more interested in doing business with them. This is especially the case when the seller is explaining something technical.
Of course, we all gesture with our hands during the course of a normal conversation. But what the researchers point to is that it is the way in which these actions are articulated that makes the real difference.
For instance, they suggest when describing a shape of an object, use your hands to mirror that form. Similarly, if explaining a movement or a feeling, conveying these with your hands can bring what you are saying to life and add gravitas to the point being made.
Caution does need to prevail, too. Gesture too much and you could annoy the very people you’re trying to appeal to and do business with. The trick is to find the right balance between underdoing it to the point of standing like a statue and going to the extreme à la Medusa. Align your movements with your speech and use gestures to emphasise the point you are making.