It’s All in The Hands”
In business it is important to not just to hear what a buyer is saying but to know what is going
on under the surface.
This is true not only in the sales process, but in all communication. Film Director Milos
Forman once said in an interview, “ If you really want to know what’s going on with a person,
look at what he is doing with their hands.”
In an article in Psychology Today, former FBI agent Joe Navarro expands on the importance
of what can be learned about a person just by noticing what is expressed through
his hands.”The first time we touch others is usually with a handshake.
It may seem trivial, but get it wrong and it will leave a lasting
negative impression. Get it right and you score emotional points. Because any touch affects our
emotional center (either positively or negatively) how we touch or even shake hands matters.
No one likes an aggressive handshake and vise-like grips are
“When we are comfortable and contented, blood flows into our
hands making them warm and pliable. Stress makes our hands feel colder
and more rigid. You may not have noticed but when you feel strong and
confident, the space between your fingers grows making your hands more
territorial. When you feel insecure, that space disappears, in fact, you may find yourself tucking
your thumbs under your fingers when under a lot of stress.”
“On the other hand, (no pun intended) when you feel confident, your thumbs will rise more often as
you speak, especially if your fingers are intertwined in front of you. You will steeple your
fingers (fingertips together like a church steeple) more often when confident but it
will vanish the moment you lack confidence or have insecurities. Steepling is important to get
your point across that you feel strongly about what you are saying, it is probably the most powerful
display of confidence that we possess.”
“When you are stressed there will be more rubbing of the hands
together (self massaging or “pacifying”) which will increase in
frequency and force commensurate with the stress. When things are really stressful,
you will rub your hands
together with fingers stretched out and interlaced.
When we feel the need to be protected,
we usually cover one hand with another”.
Clearly, there is much information that people reveal with their hands. This focus is usually missed because we are so
focused on our agenda. This often results in a lack of
understanding, difficult negotiations, and lost sales. The next time you are in an
office meeting, or in an interview, besides focusing on what
the person is verbally saying, watch his hands, it opens a new door to communication.