1. The “V” gesture made with the index and middle fingers mean different things depending on whether the palm is facing outward or inward (T/F).
  2. Displaying your open palm as in a “stop” gesture is considered insulting in Greece (T/F).
  3. The “Thumbs-up” sign is not polite in Canada (T/F).
  4. Curling your index finger to signal “come here” is considered derogatory in the Philippines (T/F).
  5. In Sweden, touching the top of someone’s head is considered highly invasive (T/F).
  6. Making a circle with your thumb and forefinger as in A-OK means “zero” in France (T/F).
  7. A fist with the thumb tucked under the index finger is aggressively rude in India. (T/F).
  8. When giving someone your business card in Japan, be sure to offer it with both hands (T/F).
  9. The western good luck gesture of entwined index and middle fingers is considered to be an obscene gesture in Vietnam (T/F).
  10. Raising the index and pinkie fingers like a bullhorn is an insulting gesture in China (T/F).


Answer the above questions first, and then scroll down to see the answers!

Quotes to
Think About

"The features of our face are hardly more than gestures which have become permanent”

Marcel Proust


"Be simple in words, manners, and gestures. Amuse as well as instruct. If you can make a man laugh, you can make him think and make him like and believe you."

-Alfred E. Smith


A Tip To Help You Shine!




  1. T
  2. T
  3. F (The country is Thailand)
  4. T
  5. F (The country is Sri Lanka)
  6. T
  7. F (The country is Turkey)
  8. T
  9. T
  10. F (The country is Italy)





Invitation to Readers!

Is there a public speaking, personal development, or leadership topic that you’d like Dr. Dilip to address in a future newsletter?
If so, write to him at drdilip@centralpenn.edu.
Subject line: Dilip’s Diamonds


Unleashing Your Communication & Performance Potential



Six Dos and Six Don’ts for Hand Gestures


Help! It feels like I have a bunch of bananas on the ends of my arms! Have you ever felt like that? If so, you are in good company. What to do with the hands has been a perennial question speakers have asked through the ages. Actually, your hands are among the most important tools you have as a speaker. Just as a painter uses paintbrushes to convey color onto a canvas, the speaker uses hands to accentuate the message and meaning of the spoken word. To not use your hands effectively as a speaker makes about as much sense as an artist not using a paintbrush. Sure, the artist could dab the paint on the canvass with fingers, but the finished product will suffer.

How do you become an artist with your hands? First, let’s take a look at six common mistakes and six ways to make your hands work for you.


Based on my observations of hundreds of speakers over the past eighteen years, here are the six most common mistakes speakers make with their hands:


  1. The One-Handed Speaker – This speaker hides one hand in a pocket. Another technique is to grip something with one hand and not let go.
  2. The No-Handed Speaker – This speaker hides both hands in pockets or grips the lectern and will not let go.
  3. The Cocked-Hands Speaker -- This speaker holds the hands cocked for action at waist-level.
  4. The Constant Motion Speaker – This speaker’s hands are always in motion when speaking. If the tongue wags, the hand moves.
  5. The Repetitive Gesture speaker – This speaker uses the same gesture over and over again.
  6. The Fidgety Fingers Speaker – This speaker fidgets with the fingers but is not aware of doing so. Common fidgeting objects are a ring and/or the fingers.


Here are six ways you can be an artist with your hands:

  1. Free Hand – As far as possible, keep your hands free. If you have to hold something (such as a remote control to advance slides), hold it long enough to use it and then set it down on a tabletop. If you hold something in your hand and talk for any length of time, you run the risk of waving that object around without meaning to do so.
  2. Hang Loose –When not needed, let your arms hang down. This is the preferred position when you are not behind a lectern. If you are not used to doing that, it will feel awkward. Persist. Like any habit, it takes a while to get used to it. You will look relaxed, elegant, and in command. When you need to make a gesture, your hands are right there. After you make the gesture, return the arms to this neutral position.
  3. Lectern Rest -- When you are speaking from behind a lectern, stand straight and rest your hands on the lectern top. That is a neutral position. After you make a gesture, return your hands to the neutral position.
  4. Purposeful – Make your gestures purposefully and not unconsciously. Your gestures support and add meaning to your spoken words.
  5. Graceful – Make your gestures graceful, deliberate, and complete. Unless you are demonstrating a choppy motion, avoid jerky gestures.
  6. Open Hand – The open hand is much more inviting, welcoming, and non-threatening than the closed fist or the pointed finger.


Apply the above methods and you can say goodbye to the bananas at the ends of your arms! Be an artist of the spoken word with effective gestures.


Next month we will look at further techniques to improve speech delivery.


If you found this newsletter helpful and would like more in-depth information directly from me, come join the Diamonds Club. Here is what you get from the Diamonds Club:


As a member, you will receive:

  • A weekly video training session on how you can become a more competent and confident public speaker. This will run from 8-12 minutes and you can play it as many times as you want to extract the maximum learning from it.
  • Free quarterly webinars, which will go into depth on public speaking skills as well as special communication topics that will help you reach ever-higher levels of knowledge and competence.
  • Receive an evaluation of your upcoming speech. Submit a video clip or script of a speech you are preparing to give. Receive expert feedback that will inform you about what you are doing well and receive practical tips on how to improve your presentation.
  • A Q & A Forum where you can submit your questions about public speaking and communication. Learn from the answers, not just to your questions, but also answers to questions posed by others.

You can hurdle time and money obstacles because for a low monthly fee, you can access all of the above 24/7! For more details and to sign up, click here.


Dr. Dilip Abayasekara
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June 24:
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