Lots of speakers and many of my trainees gesture when they speak--often, seemingly without purpose. (You can tell the unintentional speakers best when they gesture below the top of the lectern, where no one can see the gestures.) So I'm looking forward to delving into a book that's new to me: Hearing Gesture: How Our Hands Help Us Think by Susan Goldin-Meadow, a University of Chicago psychologist. Many speakers use gestures only inadvertently, and the book aims to show that "gestures can reveal, and propel, cognitive change." In fact, gestures may be helping the speaker to think and formulate ideas and concepts--along with helping the audience understand what is meant.
Goldin-Meadow recently presented new research at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science about how parents' gesturing influences vocabulary development in their young children. I'm looking forward to sharing insights from this book with you.
Buy Hearing Gesture: How Our Hands Help Us Think