When I first started speaking I would stand up in front of the room and not move one inch from where I began. It took an entire year before I was comfortable enough to move about six inches in either direction. Then I spent another year to learn how to use my hands and arms with any accuracy.
At first I’d be talking about how it’s important to keep your attitude up and my right arm would fall drastically down . . . not the right impression for the message I was portraying.
I found that Brian Tracy has videos that you can watch to learn how the most masterful speaker utilizes hand jesters. It might look easy, but when you’re in front of a crowd, it seems safe to put your hands in your pockets or have them flaying all over the place. Learn from the best.
Eye contact is always a difficult concept to master at first. The standard rule is to look long enough at someone so that you know the color of their eyes. Then move on. I have found that you’ll recognize when someone is paying apt attention to you. Attach yourself to their energy and others will follow. Then broaden the scope of your attention until you have the majority of the group paying attention.