What to do with your hands?
As promised, I am writing about body gestures in interpersonal communication.
This is the third and last post in the series (unless you tell me it interests you very much...).
Body gestures should be treated with caution. In different cultures gestures may be interpreted differently.
A gesture should not be separated from the context. We should be careful to interpret it according to the situation. For example, laughter can signify pleasure, but also express discomfort or embarrassment.
To get the most out of body gestures we have to listen carefully because we might miss things.
When people say things to us, notice if they match their body language. If so, it is likely they are telling the truth.
Face: A study was conducted on facial expressions in different cultures and it was found that this is the least controversial area. If you want, I will write about facial expressions in another post.
Some body gestures:
Crossing hands on the chest: usually describes closures or a state of defence. It may create antagonism and closure of the other party.
Try to listen to someone without crossing your hands. If you do, you will be surprised by the level of openness in the conversation. By the way, if you cross your hands, note that in many cases your partner will do the same (the same goes for hands in pockets).
Undoing coat buttons or taking off the coat: teaches openness towards you.
It was shown that messages with hand gestures were more persuasive than the same message without gestures.
Gestures attract attention and the level of listening increases.
Using gestures frees up the speaker's body language what leads to openness.
So how is it for you? Do you use your hands when speaking?
Dr. Efrat Tzadik
Coach for personal development and empowerment
"Find your home away from home"