Talking With Your Hands?

On the fourth of July we went camping and my wife took pictures of me in a serious discussion.

I was having a discussion with my brothers on the definition of a role-playing game. OK, maybe it wasn’t that serious, but the way I was holding my hands one might wonder! This amused me and inspired this post!

I’m one quarter Italian and I’ve been told that talking with your hands is an Italian thing. The questions for today are: is this really an Italian thing or just folk rumor? Is being part Italian the reason I talk with my Hands?

A New York times article states “To Italians, gesturing comes naturally.” Not a scientific publication, but I’m not making major life decisions here, this is good enough for me.

There are some interesting things online about talking with your hands, unrelated to being Italian. Many things I never knew before starting to write this post!

There is a lifehacker “Guide to Talking With Your Hands Without Being Annoying”. Hopefully I can avoid looking like the image a commentator left on that post: Fast Talking Hand Gif


According to a Forbes article “Great Leaders Talk With Their Hands”. My arms open and spread in the pictures should indicate that, I was trying to be open and honest, with nothing to hide. Can’t say I was consciously trying to convey openness or why I’d need honesty in the case of discussing the definition of a role-playing game. Perhaps I thought it would help make my point…?

I discovered that people are researching gestures and the research indicates that we gain cognitive benefits from talking with our hands. Our working memory can more easily use a gesture to communicate, which frees up some mental space for more complex thoughts. This makes sense to me. I enjoy complex discussions that fully utilize my mental capabilities. The more engaged I am in the discussion the more gestures I tend to use.

My takeaway from this little study, on talking with your hands, is: in general it’s a good thing. A caveat, we should take notice of ourselves once and a while and decide if we’re gesturing well or just being annoying.

What do you think? Do you talk with your hands?



The New York Times, When Italians Chat, Hands and Fingers Do the Talking

Lifehacker, A Guide to Talking With Your Hands Without Being Annoying

Forbes, Great Leaders Talk With Their Hands

Discover Magazine, Talk With Your Hands? You’re Doing It Right

2 thoughts on “Talking With Your Hands?”

  1. From one Italian “hand talker” to another, I agree with the complex thoughts expression and the openness and honesty idea. Maybe you learned it from your 1/2 Italian parent?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>