Why You Shouldn’t Stare at a Speaker’s Hand Gestures

An awkward scenario is birthed when we feel comfortable in delivering dialogue, use supplementary hand gestures, only for those we’re speaking with to perceive those hand gestures as delivering more information than the words we say. They begin intensely staring at our general gestures to the left, right, and all around. They lose focus on the words we say, and begin paying a little bit too much attention to the “props” we use to deliver our point with effect.

The scenario above will be used to explore the idea of not losing focus on a person’s ongoing dialogue, and restricting from considering their supplementary tools a little bit too seriously. Instances similar to the one above include being too picky about the presentation slides someone uses to supplement their presentation with, and serving to argue against examples / metaphors they use in an effort to bring a larger point home.

This article hopes to encourage you to always remain focused on the larger, more important goals a person has built their dialogue around. It hopes to remind you to not be too picky about someone’s tools in delivering a point home, and to focus on the point they’re actually trying to deliver.


Your Lack of Focus Makes Them Lose Theirs

Our acts of veering off focus by either being distracted, or focusing on the wrong things, entices those we speak with to lose focus too. Even if our acts of losing focus are subtle – like following a hand around in figure eights with our eyes – the unintended reaction serves to throw the speaker off. They’ll begin becoming anxious about you missing their points, and will attempt to quickly re-establish your attention back onto their eyes.

The speaker’s distracting internal dialogue, which you encourage if you choose to focus on the wrong things as a listener, will encourage them to lose their train of thought. They’ll be likelier to stumble, pause, or misspeak on their way to presenting a point they’ve had perfectly laid out in mind.

A realization that a person isn’t listening attentively to the important points we make, is an annoying one. We anticipate having to repeat what we’re saying, as we can almost feel the questions due to inattentiveness coming our way from across the horizon. Our explanation will be lazier and less flowing than our initial stream of dialogue. More questions can be birthed from the ones asking for clarity too, serving to completely ruin the flow of a thought we were communicating.

Your act of focusing on the wrong things whilst someone’s speaking thereby culminates into them not respecting you as a listener. They may even find you to be an annoying disruptor of a flow of a thought, presentation, or portion of a speech.


A Degradation of Ideas

The collection of the effects that focusing on a person’s supplementary tools brings about, culminates in a general degradation of the ideas being presented. The speaker will feel disrespected, and the listener will feel confused. The ideas being spoken out into the world have been muffled in their effectiveness and effect, all because a listener decided to focus on a line not being straight on a diagram drawn, rather than what the diagram communicated as a whole.

Your attention whilst reading the last sentence, may have been stolen by the “diagram” metaphor, rather than the idea it represented as a whole. Thereby a clear restatement may be warranted: Focusing on the tools people use to present their ideas, degrades the ideas being put forth.

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Disclaimer of Opinion: This article is presented only as opinion. It does not make any scientific, factual, or legal claims. Please critically analyze all claims made and independently decide on its validity.