I am here in Britain for the summer school experience in Coventry and I really got impressed to see that some topics are universal. I have known through my linguistics courses in France that the body language could be, in some way, a national way to express ourselves. But sometimes some gesture will not convey the same message according to the country from which you are coming from. Just to give you an example, I met a girl from Czech Republic and we had this little talk about how to wish for luck. In France we cross the fingers and in her country they just do a fist and shake it.
I often give advice to my students on body language when they are preparing for oral presentations. One important aspect of body language is gestures: what we do with our hands and arms as we speak? Do we put them in our pockets, behind our backs, in front of ourselves, or what?
The convention wisdom these days is that the steeple gesture is the most positive and confident starting position for the hands and arms when making a presentation. The steeple gesture, in case you didn’t know, generally involves the tips of the fingers on each hand being held together and the hands in front of the body, as shown in the picture below.