4 Truths About Hands And Body Language. How many times have you heard “Don’t put your hands under the table during a business meeting.”? Probably too many to count.
The reason you want people to see your hands when you’re speaking to them is because they can get more information from you as you communicate with them. Focus on Hands and Body Language.
The illustrators and gestures people use and make with their hands often convey much more information than you may be aware of.
Finger Spacing: One detail most people don’t pay attention to is the spacing between a person’s fingers as they speak or are spoken to. The more relaxed and stress-free, a person is the more space you will see between their fingers.
As a conversation or situation grows tense, or uncomfortable, the hands tend to close slightly. When that happens, the empty space between the fingers begins to get smaller.
Steeple-ing: Some will tell you “Never steeple your hands in a meeting. It makes people think that you think you are in control and are the Alpha of the group.”
That isn’t necessarily true. It would suggest to me that the person steeple-ing may know a bit more about whatever subject is being discussed than they are letting on.
By the same token, if indeed there is a problem, I want the person who says “Okay, here’s what we’re gonna do…” to be steeple-ing. I want them to feel confident. I want them to show that confidence. I want them to make me feel like they can do what they say they can. We can see this with hands and body language.
Mr. Wonderful from Shark Tank steeples every time a new startup walks in the room to pitch. It gives him an air of superiority that actually works very well. You almost don’t notice it. Watch him the next time Shark Tank is on. He looks like he’s just about to say “No, Mr. Bond… I intend to kill you.”
Then again, it may mean nothing at all. The person you’re meeting with may just do that all the time. (And thank goodness you know how to base line someone so you’ll know whether or not they do steeple their fingers all the time.)
Hands In Pockets: The reason you rarely see a police officer or someone in the military standing around with their hands in their pockets, is because it makes them look like they’re waiting for their momma to pull the car around to pick them up.
Out of all the startups I’ve worked with, and the millions of dollars they’ve raised in funding in the last 38 months without putting their hands in their pockets, I’ve met one person that made me say “Wait a minute, that doesn’t work for you… Put that hand back in your pocket. You look like a doctor or a professor when you do that.” He won pitch contests and got funded. So, sometimes, it just works.
Hand Wringing: We’ve all seen this cue. Someone waiting in an emergency room for news about their loved one’s condition after an accident. The worried mother when her child is missing.
And of course the expectant father in the waiting room stressed to the max as he waits for information about his wife and new baby.
Hand wringing suggests the relief of stress build up. It’s the brain trying to keep itself calm by attempting to sooth the body with rubbing and muscle massage.
You may also see this cue at the bank when someone is trying to get a loan. Or when someone has come to you looking for employment. When there’s great stress, you’ll most likely see hand wringing.
How often do you see these out in the wild? Do you execute any of these cues with your hands during meetings or when you’re presenting or pitching? Pay attention to the situation you see these gestures appear in.
You may be surprised at what you find during your next meeting as you realize you’re watching every set of hands around the table.