People Aren’t Smart, They Just Use These Dumb Gestures

January 21, 2014 | Andy Cush

You’re not smart. But how do you make it seem like you are? By employing these gestures! On their Glossary of Gestures for Critical Discussion Tumblr, Alice May Williams and Jasmine Johnson collect and display as GIFs the ubiquitous hand motions they observed among teachers and colleagues while earning their Master’s degrees at Goldsmiths college.

The motions span all difficulty levels. For starters, there’s “the point” — just that, pointing at your audience — used to “direct everyone’s gaze towards a particular individual or object,” according to Williams and Johnson. Or, if you’re feeling feisty, try “the Italian waiter,” a back-and-forth, fingers-pinched move that’s to be employed when making cultural observations. “I’ve been on holiday to the Mediterranean and I’m a bit looser with my gestures,” the ‘waiter,’ says, according to the pair.

Soon, you’ll be doing your own TED talks. See the full bevy of gestures here.