HOW TO | use your hands as the ultimate communication tool

Romain Chanut and 2 POC21 volunteers present their JerryDIT computer
mix from enspiral portray
how to use hands

as the ultimate communication tool

Today Mix from Enspiral will walk us through some of the hand signs that can be used to steer the group discussions or big meetings in the most efficient way. Most of them were introduced by the Occupy movement, and then adopted and further developed by Enspiral.

mix from enspiral demonstrating hands up mouth shut handsign

1. Hands Up Mouth Shut – raise you hand to get the group’s attention. The more hands raise around you, the more silent the crowd gets. Once you get everybody’s eyes on you, start talking.

mix from enspiral demonstrating clarifying question hand sign

2. Clarifying question – in case you did not understand a part of the speech and want to clarify certain part of it, make a c-like sign with the palm of you hand to make a facilitator aware of the fact that you have a question.

mix from enspiral demonstrating technical note hand sign

3. Technical note – use this sign if you need to make a technical remark about the discussion.

mix from enspiral demonstrating silent appreciation hand sign

4. Silent appreciation – raise both hands and shake your fingers a little if you want to show appreciation for the speaker. It s a nice way to show you agree and approve of something the person is saying  without interrupting him or her with loud applause.

meeting structure written on the boardCool to know: Facilitation tricks from Enspiral

Good meeting is a designed experience. Every detail is important, from the seating arrangement to the overall structure of the meeting. Here at POC, for instance, we always sit in a big circle, to make sure everyone feels included in the conversation. It is always helpful to have one or two facilitators who are in charge of steering the discussion and making sure the time is being used in the most efficient way.


To give you an example of a working meeting structure, here is the once we use in POC (see image above). The round starts with an intro, where the facilitator explains the outline of the meeting and briefly walks the group through the structure, making sure everyone agrees with it. We wore the structure down on a chalkboard, since its always helpful to have a visual reminder. After the intro we normally have a welcome round, where new participants get a chance to say hello and introduce themselves. Then the facilitator walks everyone through the plan and tasks for tomorrow. Afterwards everybody is given some time to make an announcement and share something they think is important for the community to know. Its vital to have a distinctive spot for those announcements, so that everybody knows there is a dedicated time in the meeting for him or her to say something. After that, the facilitator needs to close the meeting. The way we do it in POC is with the big round of applause, as a way to put a metaphorical dot to the end of the conversation as a group.