Psychology Tuesday: Hand Signals

Psychology Tuesday: Hand Signals

Tuesdays are Psychology Days at

A huge amount of communication is non-verbal. From hand gestures to eye movements, we all unconciously takes these messages in abd adapt our attitudes to the speaker accordingly.

This week, we’ll look at Hands.

  • The first thing to remember is not to over-exaggerate your hand movements (i.e. big wavy arms), for a start it’s distracting, you make take someone’s eye out and it’s almost a “Look at Me! Look at Me!” sign. If a gesture is exaggerated, it usually means the opposite what what the person is trying to convey.

  • Use hand movements to punctuate and enforce the points your making and you’ll seem more confident – apparently this type of behaviour indicates “complex thinking”.
  • Sticking your hands in your pockets is a sign of insecurity, keep them relaxed in your lap or resting on the desk.
  • When you’re making hand movements when standing, make sure they’re above the waist. Making hand gestures around your groin shows a “fight or flight” mentality – basically you’re protecting the family jewels!
  • Again, if you’re standing, don’t stand with your hands on your waist it’s seen as an agressive posture, as if you’re squaring up for a fight.
  • When shaking hands, do so with the palm facing upwards, this shows honesty and integrity.
  • Putting the fingertips together (known as raised steepling) shows confidence, this is usually done when talking. The lowered steeple (where the fingers aren’t straight or slightly interlaced) is usually used when listening.
  • Clasping your hands behind your head shows that you are trying to dominate the conversation and are overly confident.
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