Air karate doesn’t cut it

Hand gestures are a hot thing among television reporters, especially when presenting straight to the camera. Speech alone doesn’t seem to be adequate – they’ve got to emphasise their points.

Trouble is, gestures are a language and an art form in themselves. This fact is second nature to ethnic groups who use gestures a lot, such as people of the southern Mediterranean.

Don’t know hand language? This doesn’t faze many TV presenters. They improvise, opening their palms and slicing the air over and over, framing every point with a two-handed chop.

Boring and meaningless.

Good presenters have a dozen or more useful gestures at their disposal. They use each one appropriately, without overdoing the movements. The effect is subtle, almost subliminal. It works.

People who haven’t yet developed this skill should ease back and practice in private. And save us from all the air karate.

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