How to use Hands and Palms to Communicate Better

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Palms gestures and hands are active part of our body language. We use palm gestures to show that we are innocent, to ask for a favour, etc.

In this article I will be explaining the basic palm gestures, their meanings and little bit about handshakes.

1. Open Palms

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To show openness and honesty people tend to open their palms toward others. That’s why people open their palms to show their innocence.

Men tend to hide their palms when they are lying, they will either put their hands inside their jacket or trouser. While when women lie they tend to avoid the topic.

This gesture was originated in ancient times by tribes to show other tribes that they don’t contain any weapon.

2. Palm-Up

The palm facing up is considered as a submissive, non-threatening gesture. People are more likely to accept your request if you request with open palms.

Next time when you are requesting your teacher, boss or friends, try this and see what happens.

3. Palm-Down

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The opposite of palm-up is palm-down. While plan-up conveys submission, palm-down coveys Authority.

If you use it on a person with the same status, he may reject your request and may accept it if a palm-up gesture is used. If used on a subordinate it is acceptable as you have the authority and the other person is more likely to accept your request.

Refrain yourself from using this gesture when dealing with your superiors or strangers.

4. The Palm-Closed-Finger-Pointed

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The pointed finger gesture subconsciously triggers negative feelings in others. It forces others to go into submission.

The worst thing which a speaker can do in a conference is to point finger at his audience.

So whenever possible prevent yourself from doing so. Whether it is talking with your friends or family always make sure that you don’t use this gesture. It may hurt them more than you can imagine.

Let’s now talk a little bit about handshakes now. We use handshakes daily to interact with our collegeas, clients or superiors.

The way you shake your hand with someone can impact how the other person and people around you will perceive you.

I will talk about the 3 basic handshakes here.

1. The Dominant Handshake

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Dominance is transmitted by turning your hand such that when shaking hands your palm faces downwards.

Your palm doesn’t have to face the bottom directly, but is the upper hand and shows that you want to take the control of the encounter.

Most men use this type of handshake in their professional life to show dominance.

So it’s ok to use it with your subordinates but refrain from using it with your peers or superiors.

2. The Submissive Handshake

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The opposite of dominant handshake is to offer your hand with your palm facing upwards.

It conveys that you want the other person to have control over the conversation.

This type of handshake is usually used with superiors or to apologize.

A submissive person will use more submissive gestures while a dominant person will use more assertive gestures.

3. The Equality Handshake

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This type of handshake is common when both persons have equal status and no one wants to look submissive.

The result is a handshake with both palms remaining in the vertical position.

This handshake creates a feeling of equality among both the people with both respecting each other.

So use this handshake with your peers and with strangers (you don’t want to look weak or dominant to those who don’t know you).

That’s all folks!

If you want to learn more about palms and hands I highly recommend you to read The Definitive Book of Body Language by Allan and Barbara Pease.

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