Notice that when you go to malls, your eyes are attracted by things that move. Display windows, often show moving object to get the attention of passers-by. In like manner, you also get interested when speakers move their heads, arms and hands as they provide lectures in your medical lecture classes, USMLE review sessions and of course, during related medical school and residency interviews. Why?
Ideas become clearer and become meaningful and more emphatic when integrated with motion and interest shown by the speaker. To a large extent, gestures also help you because through them, you are able to channel your nervous energy into something more useful. But before you go on using your gestures, be aware of the things that you should and should not use.
1. Do make your gestures spontaneous and natural. Raise your arms and hands effortlessly but with force.
2. Make your gestures appropriate to your message and to your audience. If you are saying something positive and agreeable, your gestures should be between your waist and your head. If you mean something negative or disagreeable, gestures should be below the waist. If you are talking to a big group, like a panel of interviewers, your gestures should be large and encompassing. But if you are talking to a small group or just one person, then you may just move your arms and hands slightly.
3. Don't move your hands perpetually or continuously because if you do this during a medical school or residency interview, these gestures become ineffective and meaningless.
4. Do not also abort your gestures. Some speakers suggest that they intend to move their hands but they fail to do so. If you abort your gestures, you will only distract your listeners.
5. Avoid the praying gesture or clasping your hands together and placing them on your chest. It looks like you are pleading.
6. Avoid random or unnecessary gestures such as fixing your hair, playing with your pointer or the microphone or tapping the table or anything that you have in your hands while speaking. These gestures will serve as distractions.
Gestures are any observable behavior you make as you speak to convey your verbal messages. These observable behaviors include the movement of the head, shoulders, arms and hands. If you are speaking to an audience, your gestures have to be more forceful and more encompassing. Moving your hands towards your audience with your palms up may mean you are welcoming or addressing them. Moving your hands down with force may mean that you are rejecting an idea.
Observe these simple rules about body language for your Medical school or residency interviews to ensure you are communicating exactly what you intend, and not unconsciously allowing your gestures to get in the way of a successful interview.