Students in my class will quote by heart (because I’ve said it a gazillion times), when you hold something in your hand… you WILL play with it. It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when. It doesn’t matter if it’s the presentation remote, a pen, a laser pointer, the change in your pockets, or your own hands — pretty soon the audience is going to see that object get fondled, tossed, rotated, or shaken.
I was just on the phone with Jeff Bailey hashing out some ideas we’ve had percolating a LONG time (and are on the cusp of releasing some REALLY exciting stuff). We were chatting about this issue, the mechanics of holding and using a remote, and what to do with our hands when I tossed out the quote above. He laughed and said, “Yeah, I’m holding a pen and I’m shaking it all over the office.” I burst out laughing, as I had a USB drive with a swivel cover and I was just flipping that thing around and around like the tilt-a-whirl at the fair.
Steve Jobs — generally a fantastic presenter — fondles his remote and it causes him to hold his hands in the alter boy position (see video. Side note: the messaging and visuals are FANTASTIC). I can’t think of anyone immune to the disease.
Watch him from a distance — focus is drawn to a lot of things other than the message.
Keep your hands clear of objects. Use them to add to your content, not distract your audience.