Allan and Barbara Pease are the internationally renowned experts in human relations and body language, whose 20 million book sales worldwide have turned them into household names. People’s body language reveals that what they say is often very different from what they think or feel. It is a scientific fact that people’s gestures give away their true intentions. Every day we are confronted by hundreds of different signals that can mean anything from ‘That’s a great idea’ to ‘You must be kidding’. And we are all sending out these signals whether we realise it or not.
Now, in this authoritative guide written with great humour and insight, you can learn the secrets of body language to give you more confidence and control in any situation — from negotiating a deal to finding the right partner. Discover the techniques that will show you how to interpret gestures, read the underlying thoughts and emotions — and reach the right conclusions. Front cover photo supplied courtesy of Shufunotomo Co. , Ltd. 2-9 Kanda Surugadai, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo, Japan Allan Pease is the world’s foremost expert on body language.
His book Why Men Don’t Listen And Women Can’t Read Maps co-authored with wife Barbara, has sold over 10 million copies in 48 languages since its release. Allan travels the world lecturing on human communication, has written 8 other bestselling books and appeared in his own television series which attracted over 100 million viewers. Barbara Pease is CEO of Pease International which produces videos, training courses and seminars for business and governments worldwide. She is also the author of the international bestseller Why Men Lie and Women Cry, co-authored with husband Allan.
The Authors write a joint monthly relationship column read by over 20 million people. Back cover photo’s supplied courtesy of Orion Books Ltd, 5 Upper St Martins Lane, London The Definitive Book of BODY LANGUAGE ALSO BY A L L A N ; BARBARA PEASE published by Pease International Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps Why Men Lie and Women Cry Why Men Can Only Do One Thing at a Time and Women Never Stop Talking The Little Book of Men and Women Rude and Politically Incorrect Joke Book Talk Language Write Language Questions Are the Answers
The Definitive Book of BODY LANGUAGE Allan ; Barbara Pease PEASE INTERNATIONAL www. peaseinternational. com This book is dedicated to all people who have good eyesight but who cannot see. Published in Australia by Pease International PO Box 1260, Buderim QLD4556, Australia Tel: + 61 7 5445 5600 Fax: + 61 7 5445 5688 www. peaseinternational. com Copyright © Allan Pease 2004 All rights reserved The right of Allan and Barbara Pease to be identified as the authors of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Printed in Australia by McPherson’s Printing Group Art direction by Santamaria www. santamaria. co. uk Illustrations by Piero and John Hepworth Cover design by Sarah Baron, Harper Collins Publishers Australia www. orionbooks. co. uk CONTENTS Acknowledgements xiv Introduction 1 All Things Are Not What They Seem How Well Do You Know the Back of Your Hand? How Well Can You Spot Body Language Contradictions? How We Wrote This Book Your Body Language Dictionary 1. Understanding the Basics 7 In the Beginning …
Why It’s Not What You Say How Body Language Reveals Emotions and Thoughts Why Women are More Perceptive What Brain Scans Show How Fortune-Tellers Know So Much Inborn, Genetic or Learned Culturally? Some Basic Origins Universal Gestures Three Rules for Accurate Reading Why It Can be Easy to Misread Why Kids are Easier to Read Can You Fake it? True-Life Story: The Lying Job Applicant How to Become a Great Reader 2. The Power Is in Your Hands 31 How to Detect Openness Intentional Use of the Palms to Deceive
The Definitive Book of Body Language The Law of Cause and Effect Palm Power Our Audience Experiment An Analysis of Handshake Styles Who Should Reach First? How Dominance and Control Are Communicated The Submissive Handshake How to Create Equality How to Create Rapport How to Disarm a Power Player The Cold, Clammy Handshake Gaining the Left Side Advantage When Men and Women Shake Hands The Double-Hander The Blair—Bush Power Game The Solution The World’s Eight Worst Handshakes The Arafat-Rabin Handshake Summary 3.
The Magic of Smiles and Laughter 66 Smiling Is a Submission Signal Why Smiling Is Contagious How a Smile Tricks the Brain Practising the Fake Smile Smugglers Smile Less Five Common Types of Smiles Why Laughter Is the Best Medicine Why You Should Take Laughter Seriously Why We Laugh and Talk, But Chimps Don’t How Humour Heals Laughing Till You Cry How Jokes Work The Laughter Room Smiles and Laughter Are a Way of Bonding Humour Sells The Permanent Down-Mouth VI Contents Smiling Advice For Women Laughter In Love Summary 4. Arm Signals 90 Arm Barrier Signals Why Crossed Arms Can be Detrimental Yes…
But I’m Just ‘Comfortable’ Gender Differences Crossed-Arms-on-Chest Solution Reinforced Arm-Crossing Arm-Gripping The Boss vs The Staff Getting the Thumbs-Up Hugging Yourself How the Rich and Famous Reveal their Insecurity The Coffee Cup Barrier The Power of Touch Touch their Hand Too Summary 5. Cultural Differences 107 We Were Having Pizza at the Time Take the Cultural Test Why We’re All Becoming American Cultural Basics are the Same Almost Everywhere Greeting Differences When One Culture Encounters Another The English Stiff-Upper-Lip The Japanese ‘You Dirty, Disgusting Pig! – Nose Blowing The Three Most Common Cross-Cultural Gestures To Touch or Not to Touch? How to Offend Other Cultures Summary VII The Definitive Book of Body Language 6. Hand and Thumb Gestures 125 How the Hands Talk On the One Hand… On the Other Hand, Gestures Improve Recall Rubbing the Palms Together Thumb and Finger Rub Hands Clenched Together The Steeple Summary The Face Platter Holding Hands Behind the Back Thumb Displays Thumbs-Protruding-from-Coat-Pocket Summary 7.
Evaluation and Deceit Signals 142 Lying Research The Three Wise Monkeys How the Face Reveals the Truth Women Lie the Best and That’s the Truth Why It’s Hard to Lie Eight of the Most Common Lying Gestures Evaluation and Procrastination Gestures The Lying Interviewee Chin Stroking Stalling Clusters Head Rubbing and Slapping Gestures Why Bob Always Lost at Chess The Double Meaning 8. Eye Signals 165 The Dilating Pupils Take the Pupil Test Women Are Better at It, as Usual Giving Them the Eye The Eyebrow Flash VIII
Contents Eye Widening The ‘Looking Up’ Cluster How Men’s Fires Get Lit Gaze Behaviour – Where Do You Look? How to Keep Eye Contact in a Nudist Colony How to Grab a Man’s Attention Most Liars Look You in the Eye How to Avoid being Attacked or Abused The Sideways Glance Extended Blinking Darting Eyes The Geography of the Face The Politician’s Story Look Deep Into My Eyes, Baby The First 20 Seconds of an Interview What Channel Are You Tuned to?
How to Hold Eye Contact with an Audience How to Present Visual Information The Power Lift Summary 9. Space Invaders – Territories and Personal Space 192 Personal Space Zone Distances Practical Applications of Zone Distances Who Is Moving In on Whom? Why We Hate Riding in Lifts Why Mobs Become Angry Spacing Rituals Try the Luncheon Test Cultural Factors Affecting Zone Distances Why Japanese Always Lead When They Waltz Country vs. City Spatial Zones Territory and Ownership Car Territory Take the Test Summary IX
The Definitive Book of Body Language 10. How the Legs Reveal What the Mind Wants to Do 209 Everybody’s Talking About a New Way of Walking How Feet Tell the Truth The Purpose of the Legs The Four Main Standing Positions Defensive, Cold or ‘Just Comfortable’? How We Move from Closed to Open The European Leg Cross The American Figure Four When the Body Closes, so Does the Mind Figure Four Leg Clamp The Ankle Lock The Short Skirt Syndrome The Leg Twine Parallel-Legs Put Your Right Foot In, Put Your Right Foot Out Summary 11.
The 13 Most Common Gestures You’ll See Daily 229 The Head Nod Why You Should Learn to Nod How to Encourage Agreement The Head Shake The Basic Head Positions The Head Shrug Picking Imaginary Lint How We Show We’re Ready for Action The Cowboy Stance Sizing Up the Competition The Legs-Spread Leg-Over-the-Arm-of-Chair Straddling a Chair The Catapult Gestures That Show When a Person is Ready The Starter’s Position Summary
Contents 12. Mirroring – How We Build Rapport 250 Creating the Right Vibes Mirroring on a Cellular Level Mirroring Differences Between Men and Women What to Do About It if You’re Female When Men and Women Start to Look Alike Do We Resemble Our Pets? Monkey See, Monkey Do Matching Voices Intentionally Creating Rapport Who Mirrors Whom? Summary 13.
The Secret Signals of Cigarettes, Glasses and Make-up 265 The Two Types of Smokers Differences Between Men and Women Smoking as a Sexual Display How to Spot a Positive or Negative Decision Cigar Smokers How Smokers End a Session How to Read Glasses Stalling Tactics Peering-Over-the-Glasses Wearing Glasses on the Head The Power of Glasses and Make-up A Little Lippy, Lady? Briefcase Signals Summary 14. How the Body Points to Where the Mind Wants to Go 279 What Body Angles Say How We Exclude Others Seated Body Pointing Foot Pointing Summary
XI The Definitive Book of Body Language 15. Courtship Displays and Attraction Gestures 286 The Emergence of the Colourful Male Graham’s Story Why Women Always Call the Shots Differences Between Men and Women The Attraction Process The 13 Most Common Female Courtship Gestures and Signals How Beautiful People Miss Out What Men Look At in Women’s Bodies Is He a Bum, Boobs or Leg Man? Male Courtship Signals and Gestures Men’s Bodies – What
Turns Women On the Most Is She a Chest, Legs or Bum Gal? Summary 16. Ownership, Territory and Height Signals 317 Body Lowering and Status He’s a Big Man Around Town Why Some People Seem Taller on TV Try the Floor Test Body Lowering and Status He’s a Big Man Around Town , Why Some People Seem Taller on TV Try the Floor Test The Downsides of Height How Body Lowering Can Sometimes Raise Status How TV Politicians Can Win Votes How to Placate Angry People What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Some Strategies For Gaining Perceived Height Summary 17. Seating Arrangements – Where to Sit and Why 330 Take the Table Test It’s Not What You Say, It’s Where You Sit XII Contents King Arthur’s Concept Keeping Two People Involved Rectangular Board Tables Why Teacher’s Pet Sits On the Left Power Plays at Home How to Make an Audience Cry The Attention Zone An Experiment in Learning Getting a Decision Over Dinner Summary 18.
Interviews, Power Plays and Office Politics 346 Why James Bond Looked Cool, Calm and Collected The Nine Golden Keys to Making Great First Impressions When Someone Keeps You Waiting Fake It Till You Make It? Seven Simple Strategies for Giving You the Extra Edge Summary Office Power Politics How to Switch Table Territories Seated Body Pointing How to Re-arrange an Office Summary 19. Putting It All Together 364 How Well Can You Read Between the Lines? How Did You Rate? Summary The Six Secrets of Attractive Body Language References 380 XIII ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
These are some of the people who have directly or indirectly contributed to this book, whether they knew it or not: Dr John Tickel, Dr Dennis Waitley, Dr Andre Davril, Professor Phillip Hunsaker, Trevor Dolby, Armin Gontermann, Lothar Menne, Ray & Ruth Pease, Malcolm Edwards, Ian Marshall, Laura Meehan, Ron 6c Toby Hale, Darryl Whitby, Susan Lamb, Sadaaki Hayashsi, Deb Mehrtens, Deb Hinckesman, Doreen Carroll, Steve Wright, Derryn Hinch, Dana Reeves, Ronnie Corbett, Vanessa Feltz, Esther Rantzen, Jonathan Coleman, Trish Goddard, Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Bert Newton, Roger Moore, Lenny Henry,
Ray Martin, Mike Walsh, Don Lane, Ian Lesley, Anne Diamond, Gerry & Sherry Meadows, Stan Zermarnik, Darrel Somers, Andres Kepes, Leon Byner, Bob Geldof, Vladimir Putin, Andy McNab, John Howard, Nick & Katherine Greiner, Bryce Courtney, Tony & Cherie Blair, Greg & Kathy Owen, Lindy Chamberlain, Mike Stoller, Gerry & Kathy Bradbeer, Ty & Patti Boyd, Mark Victor Hansen, Brian Tracy, Kerry Packer, Ian Botham, Helen Richards, Tony Greig, Simon Townsend, Diana Spencer, Princes William and Harry, Prince Charles, Dr Desmond Morris, Princess Anne, David & Jan Goodwin, Iven Frangi, Victoria Singer, John Nevin, Richard Otton, Raoul Boielle, Matthew Braund, Doug Constable, George Deveraux, Rob Edmonds, Gerry Hatton, John Hepworth, Bob Heussler, Gay Huber, Ian McKillop, Delia Mills, Pamela Anderson, Wayne Mugridge, Peter Opie, David Rose, Alan White, Rob Winch, Ron Tacchi, Barry Markoff, Christine Maher, Sallie & Geoff Burch, John Fenton, Norman & Glenda Leonard and Dorie Simmonds, whose encouragement and enthusiasm drove us to write this book. Introduction By a man’s fingernails, by his coat-sleeve, by his boots, by his trouser-knees, by the calluses of his forefinger and thumb, by his expression, by his shirt-cuffs, by his movements – by each of these things a man’s calling is plainly revealed. That all united should fail to enlighten the competent enquirer in any case is almost inconceivable. SHERLOCK HOLMES, 1892
As a young boy, I was always aware that what people said was not always what they meant or were feeling and that it was possible to get others to do what I wanted if I read their real feelings and responded appropriately to their needs. At the age of eleven, I began my sales career selling rubber sponges doorto-door after school to make pocket money and quickly worked out how to tell if someone was likely to buy from me or not. When I knocked on a door, if someone told me to go away but their hands were open and they showed their palms, I knew it was safe to persist with my presentation because, despite how dismissive they may have sounded, they weren’t aggressive. If someone told me to go away in a soft voice but used a pointed finger or closed hand, I knew it was time to leave. I loved being a salesperson and was excellent at it.
As a teenager, I became a pots and pans salesperson, selling at night, and my ability to read people earnt me enough money to buy my first piece of property. Selling gave me the opportunity to meet people and study them at close range and to evaluate whether they would buy or not, simply by watching their body language. This skill also proved a bonanza for meeting girls in discos. I could nearly always predict who would say ‘yes’ to a dance with me and who wouldn’t. The Definitive Book of Body Language I joined the life insurance business at the age of twenty, and went on to break several sales records for the firm I worked for, becoming the youngest person to sell over a million dollars’ worth of business in my first year.
This achievement qualified me for the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table in the USA. As a young man I was fortunate that the techniques I’d learned as a boy in reading body language while selling pots and pans could be transferred to this new area, and was directly related to the success I could have in any venture involving people. All Things Are Not What They Seem The ability to work out what is really happening with a person is simple – not easy, but simple. It’s about matching what you see and hear in the environment in which it all happens and drawing probable conclusions. Most people, however, only see the things they think they are seeing.
Here’s a story to demonstrate the point: Two men were walking through the woods when they came across a big deep hole. ‘Wow … that looks deep,’ says one. ‘Let’s toss a few pebbles in and see how deep it is. ‘ They threw in a few pebbles and waited, but there was no sound. ‘Gee – that is a really deep hole. Let’s throw one of these big rocks in. That should make a noise. ‘ They picked up two football-sized rocks and tossed them into the hole and waited, but still they heard nothing. ‘There’s a railway sleeper over here in the weeds,’ said one. ‘If we toss that in, it’s definitely going to make some noise. ‘ They dragged the heavy sleeper over to the hole and heaved it in, but not a sound came from the hole.
Suddenly, out of the nearby woods, a goat appeared, running like the wind. It rushed towards the two men and ran right between them, running as fast as its legs could go. Then Introduction it leaped into the air and disappeared into the hole. The two men stood there, astonished at what they’d just seen. Out of the woods came a farmer who said, ‘Hey! Did you guys see my goat? ‘ ‘You bet we did! It was the craziest thing we’ve ever seen! It came running like the wind out of the woods and jumped into that hole! ‘ ‘Nah,’ says the farmer. ‘That couldn’t have been my goat. My goat was chained to a railway sleeper! ‘ How Well Do You Know the Back of Your Hand?
Sometimes we say we know something ‘like the back of our hand’ but experiments prove that less than 5% of people can identify the back of their hands from a photograph. The results of a simple experiment we conducted for a television programme showed that most people are generally not good at reading body language signals either. We set up a large mirror at the end of a long hotel lobby, giving the illusion that, as you entered the hotel, there was a long corridor going through the hotel and out the back of the lobby. We hung large plants from the ceiling to a distance of 5 feet above the floor so that, as each person entered the lobby, it looked as if another person was entering at the same time from the other end.
The ‘other person’ was not readily recognisable because the plants covered their face, but you could clearly see their body and movement. Each guest observed the other ‘guest’ for five to six seconds before turning left to the reception desk. When asked if they had recognised the other ‘guest’, 85% of men answered no’. Most men had failed to recognise themselves in a mirror, one saying, ‘You mean that fat, ugly guy? ‘ Unsurprisingly, 58% of the women said it was a mirror and 30% said the other ‘guest’ looked ‘familiar’. The Definitive Book of Body Language Most men and nearly half of all women don’t know what they look like from the neck down. How Well Can You Spot Body Language Contradictions?
People everywhere have developed a fascination with the body language of politicians because everyone knows that politicians sometimes pretend to believe in something that they don’t believe in, or infer that they are someone other than who they really are. Politicians spend much of their time ducking, dodging, avoiding, pretending, lying, hiding their emotions and feelings, using smokescreens or mirrors and waving to imaginary friends in the crowd. But we instinctively know that they will eventually be tripped up by contradictory body language signals, so we love to watch them closely, in anticipation of catching them out. What signal alerts you that a politician is lying? His lips are moving. For another television show, we conducted an experiment with the co-operation of a local tourist bureau.
Tourists entered the bureau to ask for information about local sightseeing and other tourist attractions. They were directed to a counter where they spoke with a tourism officer, a man with blond hair, a moustache, wearing a white shirt and tie. After a few minutes discussing possible itineraries, the man bent down out of sight below the counter to get some brochures. Then, another man with a clean-shaven face, dark hair and wearing a blue shirt appeared from beneath the counter holding the brochures. He continued the discussion from exactly where the first man had left off. Remarkably, around half the tourists failed to notice the change and men were twice as likely as Introduction omen to completely miss the change, not only in body language but in the appearance of a completely new person! Unless you have an innate ability or have learned to read body language, the chances are you’re missing most of it too. This book will show you what you’ve been missing. How We Wrote This Book Barbara and I have written The Definitive Book of Body Language using my original book, Body Language, as our base. Not only have we considerably expanded on that one, we have also introduced research from new scientific disciplines, such as evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology as well as technologies such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), which shows what happens in the brain.
We have written it in a style that means it can be opened and read on almost any page at random. We’ve kept the content mainly to the movement of the body, expressions and gestures, because these are the things you need to learn to get the most out of every faceto-face encounter. The Definitive Book of Body Language will make you more aware of your own non-verbal cues and signals, and will show you how to use them to communicate effectively and how to get the reactions you want. This book isolates and examines each component of body language and gesture in simple terms to make it accessible to you. Few gestures are made in isolation of others however, so we have also, at the same time, tried to avoid oversimplifying things.
There will always be those who throw up their hands in horror and claim that the study of body language is just another means by which scientific knowledge can be used to exploit or dominate others by reading their secrets or thoughts. We feel however, that this book seeks to give you greater insight into communication with your fellow humans, so that you can have a deeper understanding of other people and, therefore, of yourself. Understanding how something The Definitive Book of Body Language works makes living with it easier, whereas ignorance and lack of understanding promote fear and superstition and make us more critical of others. A birdwatcher doesn’t study birds so that he can shoot them down and keep them as trophies. In the same way, the knowledge and skills in body language serve to make every encounter with another person an exciting experience.
For the purpose of simplicity, and unless otherwise stated, the use of ‘he’ or ‘him’ will apply equally to both genders. Your Body Language Dictionary The original book was intended as a working manual for sales people, managers, negotiators and executives, but this one can be used for any aspect of your life, be it at home, on a date or at work. The Definitive Book of Body Language is the result of over 30 years of our cumulative knowledge and involvement in this field and we give you the basic ‘vocabulary’ you need to read attitudes and emotions. This book will give you answers to some of the most puzzling questions you’ve ever had about why people use some of the behaviours they do, and it will change forever your own behaviour.
It will seem as if you’ve always been in a dark room and, while you could always feel the furnishings, the wall hangings and the door, you’ve never actually seen what they look like. This book will be like turning on the lights to see what was always there. But now, you’ll know exactly what things are, where they are and what to do about them. Allan Pease Chapter 1 UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS This is ‘good’ to Westerners, ‘one’ to Italians, ‘five’ to Japanese and ‘up yours’ to the Greeks Everyone knows someone who can walk into a room full of people and, within minutes, give an accurate description about the relationships between those people and what they are feeling. The ability to read a person’s attitudes and thoughts by their behaviour was the original communication system used by humans before spoken language evolved.
Before radio was invented, most communication was done in writing through books, letters and newspapers, which meant that ugly politicians and poor speakers, such as Abraham Lincoln, could be successful if they persisted long enough and wrote good print copy. The radio era gave openings to people who had a good command of the spoken word, like Winston Churchill, who spoke wonderfully but may have struggled to achieve as much in today’s more visual era. The Definitive Book of Body Language Today’s politicians understand that politics is about image and appearance and most high-profile politicians now have personal body language consultants to help them come across as being sincere, caring and honest, especially when they’re not. It seems almost incredible that, over the housands of years of our evolution, body language has been actively studied on any scale only since the 1960s and that most of the public has become aware of its existence only since our book Body Language was published in 1978. Yet most people believe that speech is still our main form of communication. Speech has been part of our communication repertoire only in recent times in evolutionary terms, and is mainly used to convey facts and data. Speech probably first developed between 2 million and 500,000 years ago, during which time our brain tripled its size. Before then, body language and sounds made in the throat were the main forms of conveying emotions and feelings, and that is still the case today. But because we focus on the words people speak, most of us are largely uninformed about body language, let alone its importance in our lives.
Our spoken language, however, recognises how important body language is to our communication. Here are just a few of the phrases we use — Get it off your chest. Keep a stiff upper lip. Stay at arm’s length. Keep your chin up. Shoulder a burden. Face up to it. Put your best foot forward. Kiss my butt Some of these phrases are hard to swallow, but you’ve got to give us a big hand because there are some real eye-openers here. As a rule of thumb, we can keep them coming hand over fist until you either buckle at the knees or turn your back on the whole idea. Hopefully, you’ll be sufficiently touched by these phrases to lean towards the concept. Understanding the Basics In the Beginning…
Silent movie actors like Charlie Chaplin were the pioneers of body language skills, as this was the only means of communication available on the screen. Each actor’s skill was classed as good or bad by the extent to which he could use gestures and body signals to communicate to the audience. When talking films became popular and less emphasis was placed on the non-verbal aspects of acting, many silent movie actors faded into obscurity and only those with good verbal and non-verbal skills survived. As far as the academic study of body language goes, perhaps the most influential pre-twentieth-century work was Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the
Emotions in Man and Animals, published in 1872, but this work tended to be read mainly by academics. However, it spawned the modern studies of facial expressions and body language, and many of Darwin’s ideas and observations have since been validated by researchers around the world. Since that time, researchers have noted and recorded almost a million non-verbal cues and signals. Albert Mehrabian, a pioneer researcher of body language in the 1950s, found that the total impact of a message is about 7% verbal (words only) and 38% vocal (including tone of voice, inflection and other sounds) and 55% non-verbal. It’s how you looked when you said it, not what you actually said.
Anthropologist Ray Birdwhistell pioneered the original study of non-verbal communication — what he called ‘kinesics’. Birdwhistell made some similar estimates of the amount of non-verbal communication that takes place between humans. He estimated that the average person actually speaks words for a total of about ten or eleven minutes a day and that the average sentence takes only about 2. 5 seconds. Birdwhistell also estimated we can make and recognise around 250,000 facial expressions. The Definitive Book of Body Language Like Mehrabian, he found that the verbal component of a face-to-face conversation is less than 35% and that over 65% of communication is done non-verbally.
Our analysis of thousands of recorded sales interviews and negotiations during the 1970s and 1980s showed that, in business encounters, body language accounts for between 60 and 80% of the impact made around a negotiating table and that people form 60 to 80% of their initial opinion about a new person in less than four minutes. Studies also show that when negotiating over the telephone, the person with the stronger argument usually wins, but this is not so true when negotiating face-to-face, because overall we make our final decisions more on what we see than what we hear. Why It’s Not What You Say Despite what it may be politically correct to believe, when we meet people for the first time we quickly make judgements about their friendliness, dominance and potential as a sexual partner – and their eyes are not the first place we look.
Most researchers now agree that words are used primarily for conveying information, while body language is used for negotiating interpersonal attitudes and in some cases is used as a substitute for verbal messages. For example, a woman can give a man a ‘look to kill’ and will convey a very clear message to him without opening her mouth. Regardless of culture, words and movements occur together with such predictability that Birdwhistell was the first to claim that a well-trained person should be able to tell what movement a person is making by listening to their voice. Birdwhistell even learned how to tell what language a person was speaking, simply by watching their gestures. Many people find difficulty in accepting that humans are still biologically animals.
We are a species of primate — Homo sapiens — a hairless ape that has learned to walk on two limbs and has a clever, advanced brain. But like any other species, we Understanding the Basics are still dominated by biological rules that control our actions, reactions, body language and gestures. The fascinating thing is that the human animal is rarely aware that its postures, movements and gestures can tell one story while its voice may be telling another. How Body Language Reveals Emotions and Thoughts Body language is an outward reflection of a person’s emotional condition. Each gesture or movement can be a valuable key to an emotion a person may be feeling at the time.
For example, a man who is self-conscious about gaining weight may tug at the fold of skin under his chin; the woman who is aware of extra pounds on her thighs may smooth her dress down; the person who is feeling fearful or defensive might fold their arms or cross their legs or both; and a man talking with a large-breasted woman may consciously avoid staring at her breasts while, at the same time, unconsciously use groping gestures with his hands. Prince Charles finds a bosom buddy 11 The Definitive Book of Body Language The key to reading body language is being able to understand a person’s emotional condition while listening to what they are saying and noting the circumstances under which they are saying it. This allows you to separate fact from fiction and reality from fantasy. In recent times, we humans have had an obsession with the spoken word and our ability to be conversationalists.
Most people, however, are remarkably unaware of body language signals and their impact, despite the fact that we now know that most of the messages in any face-to-face conversation are revealed through body signals. For example, France’s President Chirac, USA’s President Ronald Reagan and Australia’s Prime Minister Bob Hawke all used their hands to reveal the relative sizes of issues in their mind. Bob Hawke once defended pay increases for politicians by comparing their salaries to corporate executive salaries. He claimed that executive salaries had risen by a huge amount and that proposed politicians’ increases were relatively smaller. Each time he mentioned politicians’ incomes, he held his hands a yard (1m) apart. When he mentioned executive salaries, however, he held them only a foot (30cm) apart.
His hand distances revealed that he felt politicians were getting a much better deal than he was prepared to admit. President Jacques Chirac — measuring the size of an issue or simply boasting about his love life? 12 Understanding the Basics Why Women are More Perceptive we say someone is ‘perceptive’ or ‘intuitive’ about people, we are unknowingly referring to their ability to read another person’s body language and to compare these cues with verbal signals. In other words, when we say that we have a ‘hunch’ or ‘gut feeling’ that someone has told us a lie, we usually mean that their body language and their spoken words don’t agree. This is also what speakers call audience awareness, or relating to a group.
For example, if an audience were sitting back in their seats with their chins down and arms crossed on their chest, a ‘perceptive’ speaker would get a hunch or feeling that his delivery was not going across well. He would realise that he needed to take a different approach to gain audience involvement. Likewise, a speaker who was not ‘perceptive’ would blunder on regardless. Being ‘perceptive’ means being able to spot the contradictions between someone’s words and their body language. Overall, women are far more perceptive than men, and this has given rise to what is commonly referred to as ‘women’s intuition’. Women have an innate ability to pick up and decipher non-verbal signals, as well as having an accurate eye for small details.
This is why few husbands can lie to their wives and get away with it and why, conversely, most women can pull the wool over a man’s eyes without his realising it. Research by psychologists at Harvard University showed how women are far more alert to body language than men. They showed short films, with the sound turned off, of a man and woman communicating, and the participants were asked to decode what was happening by reading the couple’s expressions. The research showed that women read the situation accurately 87% of the time while the men scored only 42% accuracy. Men in ‘nurturing’ occupations, such as artistic types, acting and nursing, did nearly as well as the women; gay The Definitive Book of Body Language men also scored well.
Female intuition is particularly evident in women who have raised children. For the first few years, the mother relies almost solely on the non-verbal channel to communicate with the child and this is why women are often more perceptive negotiators than men because they practise reading signals early. What Brain Scans Show Most women have the brain organisation to out-communicate any man on the planet. Magnetic Resonance Imaging brain scans (MRI) clearly show why women have far greater capacity for communicating with and evaluating people than men do. Women have between fourteen and sixteen areas of the brain to evaluate others’ behaviour versus a man’s four to six areas.
This explains how a woman can attend a dinner party and rapidly work out the state of the relationships of other couples at the party – who’s had an argument, who likes who and so on. It also explains why, from a woman’s standpoint, men don’t seem to talk much and, from a man’s standpoint, women never seem to shut up. As we showed in Why Men Don’t Listen & Women Can’t Read Maps (Orion), the female brain is organised for multitracking — the average woman can juggle between two and four unrelated topics at the same time. She can watch a television programme while talking on the telephone plus listen to a second conversation behind her, while drinking a cup of coffee.
She can talk about several unrelated topics in the one conversation and uses five vocal tones to change the subject or emphasise points. Unfortunately, most men can only identify three of these tones. As a result, men often lose the plot when women are trying to communicate with them. Studies show that a person who relies on hard visual evidence face to face about the behaviour of another person is more likely to make more accurate judgements about that person than someone who relies solely on their gut feeling. 14 Understanding the Basics The evidence is in the person’s body language and, while women can do it subconsciously, anyone can teach themselves consciously to read the signals.
That’s what this book is about. How Fortune-Tellers Know So Much If you’ve ever visited a fortune teller you probably came away amazed at the things they knew about you — things no one else could possibly have known — so it must be ESP, right? Research into the fortune-telling business shows that operators use a technique known as ‘cold reading’ which can produce an accuracy of around 80% when ‘reading’ a person you’ve never met. While it can appear to be magical to naive and vulnerable people, it is simply a process based on the careful observation of body language signals plus an understanding of human nature and a knowledge of probability statistics.
It’s a technique practised by psychics, tarot card readers, astrologists and palm readers to gather information about a ‘client’. Many ‘cold readers’ are largely unaware of their abilities to read nonverbal signals and so also become convinced that they really must have ‘psychic’ abilities. This all adds to a convincing performance, bolstered by the fact that people who regularly visit ‘psychics’ go with positive expectations of the outcome. Throw in a set of tarot cards, a crystal ball or two and a bit of theatre, and the stage is perfectly set for a body-languagereading session that can convince even the most hardened sceptic that strange, magical forces must be at work.
It all boils down to the reader’s ability to decode a person’s reactions to statements made and to questions asked, and by information gathered from simple observation about a person’s appearance. Most ‘psychics’ are female because, as women, as discussed previously, they have the extra brain wiring to allow them to read the body signals of babies and to read others’ emotional condition. The Definitive Book of Body Language The fortune-teller gazed into her crystal ball and then started laughing uncontrollably. So John punched her on the nose. It was the first time he’d ever struck a happy medium. To demonstrate the point, here now is a psychic reading for you personally.
Imagine you’ve come to a dimly lit, smokefilled room where a jewel-encrusted psychic wearing a turban is seated at a low, moon-shaped table with a crystal ball: I’m glad you’ve come to this session and I can see you have things that are troubling you because I am receiving strong signals from you. I sense that the things you really want out of life sometimes seem unrealistic and you often wonder whether you can achieve them. I also sense that at times you are friendly, social and outgoing to others, but that at other times you are withdrawn, reserved and cautious. You take pride in being an independent thinker but also know not to accept what you see and hear from others, without proof. You like change and variety but become restless if controlled by restrictions and routine. You want to share your innermost feelings with those closest to you but have found it unwise to be too open and revealing.
A man in your life with the initial ‘S’ is exerting a strong influence over you right now and a woman who is born in November will contact you in the next month with an exciting offer. While you appear disciplined and controlled on the outside, you tend to be concerned and worried on the inside and at times you wonder whether or not you have made the right choice or decision. So how did we go? Did we read you accurately? Studies show that the information in this ‘reading’ is more than 80% accurate for any person reading it. Throw in an excellent ability to read body language postures, facial expressions and a person’s other twitches and movements, plus dim lighting, weird music and a stick of incense, and we guarantee you can even amaze
Understanding the Basics the dog! We won’t encourage you to become a fortune-teller but you’ll soon be able to read others as accurately as they do. Inborn, Genetic or Learned Culturally? When you cross your arms on your chest, do you cross left over right or right over left? Most people cannot confidently describe which way they do this until they try it. Cross your arms on your chest right now and then try to quickly reverse the position. Where one way feels comfortable, the other feels completely wrong. Evidence suggests that this may well be a genetic gesture that cannot be changed. Seven out of ten people cross their left arm over their right.
Much debate and research has been done to discover whether non-verbal signals are inborn, learned, genetically transferred or acquired in some other way. Evidence has been collected from observation of blind people (who could not have learned non-verbal signals through a visual channel), from observing the gestural behaviour of many different cultures around the world and from studying the behaviour of our nearest anthropological relatives, the apes and monkeys. The conclusions of this research indicate that some gestures fall into each category. For example, most primate babies are born with the immediate ability to suck, showing that this is either inborn or genetic.
The German scientist Eibl-Eibesfeldt round that the smiling expressions of children born deaf and blind occur independently of learning or copying, which means that these must also be inborn gestures. Ekman, Friesen and Sorenson supported some of Darwin’s original beliefs about inborn gestures when they studied the facial expressions of people from five widely different cultures. They found that each culture used the same basic facial gestures to show The Definitive Book of Body Language emotion, which led them to the conclusion that these gestures must also be inborn. Cultural differences are many but the basic body language signals are the same everywhere.
Debate still exists as to whether some gestures are culturally learned, and become habitual, or are genetic. For example, most men put on a coat right arm first; most women put it on left arm first. This shows that men use their left brain hemisphere for this action while women use the right hemisphere. When a man passes a woman in a crowded street, he usually turns his body towards her as he passes; she instinctively turns her body away from him to protect her breasts. Is this an inborn female reaction or has she learned to do this by unconsciously watching other females? Some Basic Origins Most of the basic communication signals are the same all over the world. When people are happy they smile; when they are sad or angry they frown or scowl.
Nodding the head is almost universally used to indicate ‘yes’ or affirmation. It appears to be a form of head lowering and is probably an inborn gesture because it’s also used by people born blind. Shaking the head from side to side to indicate ‘no’ or negation is also universal and appears to be a gesture learned in infancy. When a baby has had enough milk, it turns its head from side to side to reject its mother’s breast. When the young child has had enough to eat, he shakes his head from side to side to stop any attempt to spoon-feed him and, in this way, he quickly learns to use the head shaking gesture to show disagreement or a negative attitude. 18
Understanding the Basics The head-shaking gesture signals ‘no’ and owes its origin to breastfeeding. The evolutionary origin of some gestures can be traced to our primitive animal past. Smiling, for example, is a threat gesture for most carnivorous animals, but for primates it is done in conjunction with non-threatening gestures to show submission. Baring the teeth and nostril flaring are derived from the act of attacking and are primitive signals used by other primates. Sneering is used by animals to warn others that, if necessary, they’ll use their teeth to attack or defend. For humans, this gesture still appears even though humans won’t usually attack with their teeth.
Human and animal sneering — you wouldn’t want to go on a date with either of these two Nostril flaring allows more air to oxygenate the body in preparation for fight or flight and, in the primate world, it tells others that back-up support is needed to deal with an imminent threat. In the human world, sneering is caused by anger, irritation, when a person feels under physical or emotional threat or feels that something is not right. 19 The Definitive Book of Body Language Universal Gestures The Shoulder Shrug is also a good example of a universal gesture that is used to show that a person doesn’t know or doesn’t understand what you are saying.
It’s a multiple gesture that has three main parts: exposed palms to show nothing is being concealed in the hands, hunched shoulders to protect the throat from attack and raised brow which is a universal, submissive greeting. The Shoulder Shrug shows submission Just as verbal language differs from culture to culture, so some body language signals can also differ. Whereas one gesture may be common in a particular culture and have a clear interpretation, it may be meaningless in another culture or even have a completely different meaning. Cultural differences will be covered later, in Chapter 5. Three Rules for Accurate Reading What you see and hear in any situation does not necessarily reflect the real attitudes people may actually have. You need to follow three basic rules to get things right. 20 Understanding the Basics Rule 1. Read Gestures in Clusters
One of the most serious errors a novice in body language can make is to interpret a solitary gesture in isolation of other gestures or circumstances. For example, scratching the head can mean a number of things – sweating, uncertainty, dandruff, fleas, forgetfulness or lying – depending on the other gestures that occur at the same time. Like any spoken language, body language has words, sentences and punctuation. Each gesture is like a single word and one word may have several different meanings. For example, in English, the word ‘dressing’ has at least ten meanings including the act of putting on clothing, a sauce for food, stuffing for a fowl, an application for a wound, fertiliser and grooming for a horse.
It’s only when you put a word into a sentence with other words that you can fully understand its meaning. Gestures come in ‘sentences’ called clusters and invariably reveal the truth about a person’s feelings or attitudes. A body language cluster, just like a verbal sentence, needs at least three words in it before you can accurately define each of the words. The ‘perceptive’ person is the one who can read the body language sentences and accurately match them against the person’s verbal sentences. Scratching the head can mean uncertainty but it’s also a sign of dandruff. So always look at gesture clusters for a correct reading. Each of us has one or more repetitive gestures that simply reveal we are either bored or feeling under pressure.
Continual hair touching or twirling is a common example of this but, in isolation of other gestures, it’s likely to mean the person is feeling uncertain or anxious. People stroke their hair or head because that’s how their mother comforted them when they were children. To demonstrate the point about clusters, here’s a common 21 The Definitive Book of Body Language Critical Evaluation gesture cluster someone might use when they are unimpressed with what they are hearing: You’re losing points with this man The main Critical Evaluation signal is the hand-to-face gesture, with the index finger pointing up the cheek while another finger covers the mouth and the thumb supports the chin.
Further evidence that this listener is having critical thoughts about what he hears is supported by the legs being tightly crossed and the arm crossing the body (defensive) while the head and chin are down (negative/hostile). This body language ‘sentence’ says something like, ‘I don’t like what you’re saying’, ‘I disagree’ or ‘I’m holding back negative feelings’. Hillary Clinton uses this cluster when she’s not convinced 22 Understanding the Basics Rule 2. Look for Congruence Research shows that non-verbal signals carry about five times as much impact as the verbal channel and that, when the two are incongruent people – especially women – rely on the nonverbal message and disregard the verbal content.
If you, as the speaker, were to ask the listener shown above to give his opinion about something you’ve said and he replied that he disagreed with you, his body language signals would be congruent with his verbal sentences, that is, they would match. If, however, he said he agreed with what you said, he would more likely be lying because his words and gestures would be incongruent. When a person’s words and body language are in conflict, women ignore what is said. If you saw a politician standing behind a lectern speaking confidently but with his arms tightly folded across his chest (defensive) and chin down (critical/hostile), while telling his audience how receptive and open he is to the ideas of young people, would you be convinced?
What if he attempted to convince you of his warm, caring approach while giving short, sharp karate chops to the lectern? Sigmund Freud once reported that while a patient was verbally expressing happiness with her marriage, she was unconsciously slipping her wedding ring on and off her finger. Freud was aware of the significance of this unconscious gesture and was not surprised when marriage problems began to surface. Observation of gesture clusters and congruence of the verbal and body language channels are the keys to accurately interpreting attitudes through body language. Rule 3. Read Gestures in Context All gestures should be considered in the context in which they occur.
If, for example, someone was sitting at a bus terminal 23 The Definitive Book of Body Language with his arms and legs tightly crossed and chin down and it was a cold winter’s day, it would most likely mean that he was cold, not defensive. If, however, the person used the same gestures while you were sitting across a table from him trying to sell him an idea, product or service, it could be correctly interpreted as meaning that the person was feeling negative or rejecting your offer. Cold, not defensive Throughout this book all body language gestures will be considered in context and, where possible, gesture clusters will be examined. Why It Can be Easy to Misread
Someone who has a soft or limp handshake — especially a man — is likely to be accused of having a weak character and the next chapter on handshake techniques will explore the reason behind this. But if someone has arthritis in their hands it is likely that 24 Understanding the Basics they will also use a soft handshake to avoid the pain of a strong one. Similarly, artists, musicians, surgeons and those whose occupation is delicate and involves use of their hands generally prefer not to shake hands, but, if they are forced into it, they may use a ‘dead fish’ handshake to protect their hands. Someone who wears ill-fitting or tight clothing may be unable to use certain gestures, and this can affect their use of body language. For example, obese people can’t cross their legs.
Women who wear short skirts will sit with their legs tightly crossed for protection, but this results in them looking less approachable and less likely to be asked to dance at a nightclub. These circumstances apply to the minority of people, but it is important to consider what effect a person’s physical restrictions or disabilities may have on their body movement. Why Kids are Easier to Read Older people are harder to read than younger ones because they have less muscle tone in the face. The speed of some gestures and how obvious they look to others is also related to the age of the individual. For example, if a five-year-old child tells a lie, he’s likely to immediately cover his mouth with one or both hands. The child telling a lie
The act of covering the mouth can alert a parent to the lie and this mouth-covering gesture will likely continue throughout 25 The Definitive Book of Body Language the person’s lifetime, usually only varying in the speed at which it’s done. When a teenager tells a lie, the hand is brought to the mouth in a similar way to the five-year-old, but instead of the obvious hand-slapping gesture over the mouth, the fingers rub lightly around it. The teenager telling a lie The original mouth-covering gesture becomes even faster in adulthood. When an adult tells a lie, it’s as if his brain instructs his hand to cover his mouth in an attempt to block the deceitful words, just as it did for the five-year-old and the teenager.
But, at the last moment, the hand is pulled away from the face and a nose touch gesture results. This is simply an adult’s version of the mouth-covering gesture that was used in childhood. Bill Clinton answering questions about Monica Lewinsky in front of the Grand Jury 26 Understanding the Basics This shows how, as people get older, their gestures become more subtle and less obvious and is why it’s often more difficult to read the gestures of a fifty-year-old than those of a five-year-old. Can You Fake it? We are regularly asked, ‘Can you fake body language? ‘ The general answer to this question is ‘no’, because of the lack of congruence that is likely to occur between the main gestures, the body’s micro-signals and the spoken words.
For example, open palms are associated with honesty but when the faker holds his palms out and smiles at you as he tells a lie, his micro-gestures give him away. His pupils may contract, one eyebrow may lift or the corner of his mouth may twitch, and these signals contradict the open palm gesture and the sincere smile. The result is that the receivers, especially women, tend not to believe what they hear. Body language is easier to fake with men than with women because, overall, men aren’t good readers of body language. True-Life Story:The Lying Job Applicant we were interviewing a man who was explaining why he had quit his last job. He told us that there had been insufficient future opportunity available to him and that it was a hard decision to leave as he got on well with all the staff there.
A female interviewer said she had an ‘intuitive feeling’ that the applicant was lying and that he had negative feelings about his forrner boss, despite the applicant’s continual praising of his boss. During a review of the interview on slow-motion video, we noticed that each time the applicant mentioned his former 27 The Definitive Book of Body Language boss a split-second sneer appeared on the left side of his face. Often these contradictory signals will flash across a person’s face in a fraction of a second and are missed by an untrained observer. We telephoned his former boss and discovered the applicant had been fired for dealing drugs to other staff members. As confidently as this applicant had tried to fake his body language, his contradictory micro-gestures gave the game away to our female interviewer.
The key here is being able to separate the real gestures from fake ones so a genuine person can be distinguished from a liar or impostor. Signals like pupil dilation, sweating and blushing cannot be consciously faked but exposing the palms to try to appear honest is easily learned. Fakers can only pretend for a short period of time. There are, however, some cases in which body language is deliberately faked to gain certain advantages. Take, for example, the Miss World or Miss Universe contest, in which each contestant uses studiously learned body movements to give the impression of warmth and sincerity. To the extent that each contestant can convey these signals, she will score points from the judges.
But even the expert contestants can only fake body language for a short period of time and eventually the body will show contradictory signals that are independent of conscious actions. Many politicians are experts in faking body language in order to get the voters to believe what they are saying, and politicians who can successfully do this – such as John F Kennedy and Adolf Hitler — are said to have ‘charisma’. In summary, it is difficult to fake body language for a long period of time but, as we will discuss, it’s important to learn how to use positive body language to communicate with others and to eliminate negative body language that may give out the wrong message.
This can make it more comfortable to 28 Understanding the Basics be with others and make you more acceptable to them, which is one of the aims of this book. How to Become a Great Reader Set aside at least fifteen minutes a day to study the body language of other people, as well as acquiring a conscious awareness of your own gestures. A good reading ground is anywhere that people meet and interact. An airport is a particularly good place for observing the entire spectrum of human gestures as people openly express eagerness, anger, sorrow, happiness, impatience and many other emotions through body language. Social functions, business meetings and parties are also excellent.
When you become proficient at the art of reading body language, you can go to a party, sit in a corner all evening and have an exciting time just watching other people’s body language rituals. Modern humans are worse at reading body signals than their ancestors because we are now distracted by words. Television also offers an excellent way of learning. Turn down the sound and try to understand what is happening by first watching the picture. By turning the sound up every few minutes, you will be able to check how accurate your nonverbal readings are and, before long, it will be possible to watch an entire programme without any sound and understand what is happening, just as deaf people do.
Learning to read body language signals not only makes you more acutely aware of how others try to dominate and manipulate, it brings the realisation that others are also doing the same to us and, most importantly, it teaches us to be more sensitive to other people’s feelings and emotions. we have now witnessed the emergence of a new kind of 29 The Definitive Book of Body Language social scientist – the Body Language Watcher. Just as the birdwatcher loves watching birds and their behaviour, so the Body Language Watcher delights in watching the non-verbal cues and signals of human beings. He watches them at social functions, at beaches, on television, at the office or anywhere that people interact.
He’s a student of behaviour who wants to learn about the actions of his fellow humans so that he may ultimately learn more about himself and how he can improve his relationships with others. What’s the difference between an observer and a stalker? A clipboard and pen. 30 Chapter 2 THE POWER IS IN YOUR HANDS How the Palms and Handshakes are used to control In ancient times, open palms were used to show that no weapons were being concealed It was Adam’s first day on the job with his new PR company and he wanted to make a good impression on everyone. As he was introduced to colleague after colleague, he shook their hands enthusiastically and gave everyone a broad smile.
Adam stood 6 foot 3 inches (1. 9m) tall and was good looking, well dressed and certainly looked like a successful PR man. He always gave a firm handshake, just the way his father had taught him when he was young. So firm in fact, that it drew blood on the ring fingers of two female colleagues and left several others feeling injured. Other men competed with Adam’s handshake — that’s what men do. The women, 31 The Definitive Book of Body Language however, suffered in silence and soon were whispering, ‘Stay away from that new guy Adam — he’s a bruiser! ‘ The men never brought it up – but the women simply avoided Adam. And half the firm’s bosses were women.
Here’s a handy thought — whether you are heavy-handed or high-handed, engage in sleight-of-hand to avoid a hand-tomouth existence, you might have to show your hand sometimes to gain the upper hand. Don’t get caught redhanded, or try to wash your hands of a mistake, because if you bite the hand that feeds you, things could get out of hand. The hands have been the most important tools in human evolution and there are more connections between the brain and the hands than between any other body parts. Few people ever consider how their hands behave or the way they shake hands when they meet someone. Yet those first five to seven pumps establish whether dominance, submission or power plays will take place. Throughout history, the open palm has been associated with truth, honesty, allegiance and submission.
Many oaths are still taken with the palm of the hand over the heart, and the palm is held in the air when somebody is giving evidence in a court of law; the Bible is held in the left hand and the right palm held up for the members of the court to view. One of the most valuable clues to discovering whether someone is being open and honest – or not – is to watch for palm displays. Just as a dog will expose its throat to show submission or surrender to the victor, humans use their palms to display in a similar way to show that they are unarmed and therefore not a threat. Submissive dogs reveal their throats. Humans show their palms. 32 The Power Is in Your Hands How to Detect Openness
When people want to be open or honest, they will often hold one or both palms out to the other person and say something like, ‘I didn’t do it! ‘, ‘I’m sorry if I upset you’ or ‘I’m telling you the truth’. When someone begins to open up or be truthful, they will likely expose all or part of their palms to the other person. Like most body language signals, this is a completely unconscious gesture, one that gives you an ‘intuitive’ feeling or hunch that the other person is telling the truth. ‘Trust me – I’m a doctor’ The palms are intentionally used everywhere to infer an open, honest approach 33 The Definitive Book of Body Language When children are lying or concealing something, they’ll often hide their palms behind the back.
Similarly, a man who wants to conceal his whereabouts after a night out with the boys might hide his palms in his pockets, or in an arms-crossed position, when he tries to explain to his partner where he was. However, the hidden palms may give her an intuitive feeling that he is not telling the truth. A woman who is trying to hide something will try to avoid the subject or talk about a range of unrelated topics while doing various other activities at the same time. When men lie their body language can be obvious. Women prefer to look busy as they lie. Salespeople are taught to watch for a customer’s exposed palms when he gives reasons or objections about why he can’t buy a product, because when someone is giving valid reasons, they usually show their palms.
When people are being open in explaining their reasons they use their hands and flash their palms whereas someone who isn’t telling the truth is likely to give the same verbal responses but conceal their hands. Keeping their hands in their pockets is a favourite ploy of men who don’t want to participate in a conversation. The palms were originally like the vocal cords of body language because they did more ‘talking’ than any other body part and putting them away was like keeping one’s mouth shut. Palms-in-Pockets: Prince William showing the media that he doesn’t want to talk 34 The Power Is in Your Hands Intentional Use of the Palms to Deceive Some people ask, ‘If I tell a lie and keep my palms visible, will people be more likely to believe me? ‘ The answer is yes – and no.
If you tell an outright lie with your palms exposed, you might still appear insincere to your listeners because many of the other gestures that should also be visible when displaying honesty are absent and the negative gestures used during lying will appear and will be incongruent with the open palms. Con artists and professional liars are people who have developed the special art of making their non-verbal signals complement their verbal lies. The more effectively the professional con artist can use the body language of honesty when telling a lie, the better he is at his job. Will you still love me when I’m old and grey? ‘ she asked, palms visible. ‘Not only will I love you,’ he replied, ‘I’ll write to you. ‘ The Law of Cause and Effect
It’s possible, however, to appear more open and credible by practising open palm gestures when communicating with others. Interestingly, as the open palm gestures become habitual, the tendency to tell untruths diminishes. Most people find it difficult to lie with their palms exposed because of the law of cause and effect. If a person is being open they’ll expose their palms, but just having their palms exposed makes it difficult for the person to tell a convincing lie. This is because gestures and emotions are directly linked to each other. If you reel defensive, for example, you’re likely to cross your arms across your chest. But if you simply cross your arms you’ll begin to experience defensive feelings.
And if you are talking with your palms exposed it puts even more pressure on the other person to be truthful too. In other words, open palms can help to suppress some of the false information others may tell and encourage them to be more open with you. 35 The Definitive Book of Body Language Palm Power One of the least noticed, but most powerful, body signals is given by the human palm when giving someone directions or commands and in handshaking. When used in a certain way, Palm Power invests its user with the power of silent authority. There are three main palm command gestures: the Palm-Up position, the Palm-Down position and the Palm-Closed- i Finger-Pointed osition. The differences of the three positions are shown in this example: let’s say that you ask someone to pick up something and carry it to another location. We’ll assume that you use the same tone of voice, the same words and facial expressions in each example, and that you change only the position of your palm. The palm facing up is used as a submissive, non-threatening gesture, reminiscent of the pleading gesture of a street beggar and, from an evolutionary perspective, shows the person holds no weapons. The person being asked to move the item will not feel they are being pressured into it and are unlikely to feel threatened by your request.
If you want someone to talk you can use the Palm-Up as a ‘handover’ gesture to let them know you expect them to talk and that you’re ready to listen. The Palm-Up gesture became modified over the centuries and gestures like the Single-Palm-Raised-in-the-Air, the PalmOver-tbe-Heart and many other variations developed. Palm up = non threatening Palm down — authority When the palm is turned to face downwards, you will project immediate authority. The other person will sense that you’ve 36 The Power Is in Your Hands given them an order to move the item and may begin to feel antagonistic towards you, depending on your relationship with him or the position you have with him in a work environment.
Turning your palm from facing upwards to facing downwards completely alters how others perceive you. For example, if the other person was someone of equal status, he might resist a Palm-Down request and would be more likely to comply if you’d used the Palm-Up position. If the person is your subordinate, the Palm-Down gesture is seen as acceptable because you have the authority to use it. The Nazi salute had the palm facing directly down and was the symbol of power and tyranny during the Third Reich. If Adolf Hitler had used his salute in the Palm-Up position no one would have taken him seriously – they would have laughed. Adolf Hitler using one of history’s most notable Palm-Down signals 37 The Definitive Book of Body Language
When couples walk hand-in-hand the dominant partner, often 1 the man, walks slightly in front with his hand in the above position, palm facing backwards while she has her palm facing forward. This simple little position immediately reveals to an observer who wears the loincloths in that family. The Palm-Closed-Finger-Pointed is a fist where the pointed finger is used like a symbolic club with which the speaker figuratively beats his listeners into submission. Subconsciously, it evokes negative feelings in others because it precedes a right over-arm blow, a primal move most primates use in a physical attack. Pointing finger — ‘Do it or else! ‘
The Palm-Closed-Finger-Pointed gesture is one of the most annoying gestures anyone can use while speaking, particularly when it beats time to the speaker’s words. In some countries such as Malaysia and the Philippines, finger pointing at a person is an insult as this gesture is only used to point at animals. Malaysians will use their thumb to point to people or to give directions. Our Audience Experiment We conducted an experiment with eight lecturers who were asked to use each of these three hand gestures during a series of ten-minute talks to a range of audiences and we later recorded the attitudes of the participants to each lecturer. We found that the lecturers who mostly used the Palm-Up position received 84% positive testimonials from their participants, 38 The Power Is in Your Hands hich dropped to 52% when they delivered exactly the same presentation to another audience using mainly the Palm-Down position. The Finger-Pointed position recorded only 28% positive response and some participants had walked out during the lecture. The pointing finger creates negative feelings in most listeners Finger pointing not only registered the least amount of positive responses from the listeners; they could also recall less of what the speaker had said. If you are a habitual finger-pointer, try practising the palm-up and palm-down positions and you’ll find that you can create a more relaxed atmosphere and have a more positive effect on others.
Alternatively, if you squeeze your fingers against your thumb to make an ‘OK’ type of gesture and talk using this position, you’ll come across as authoritative, but not aggressive. We taught this gesture to groups of speakers, politicians and business leaders and we measured the audience reactions. The audiences who listened to the speakers who used the fingertip-touch gestures described those speakers as ‘thoughtful’, ‘goal-oriented’ and ‘focused’. 39 The Definitive Book of Body Language Squeezing the thumb against the fingertips avoids intimidating the audience Speakers who used the finger-pointed position were described as ‘aggressive’, ‘belligerent’ and ‘rude’ and recorded the lowest amount of information retention by their audience.
When the speaker pointed directly at the audience, the delegates became preoccupied with making personal judgements about the speaker rather than listening to his content. An Analysis of Handshake Styles Shaking hands is a relic of our ancient past. Whenever primitive tribes met under friendly conditions, they would hold their arms out with their palms exposed to show that no weapons were being held or concealed. In Roman times, the practice of carrying a concealed dagger in the sleeve was common so for protection the Romans developed the LowerArm-Grasp as a common greeting. The Lower Arm Grasp checking for concealed weapons — the original Roman method of greeting 40 The Power Is in Your Hands
The modern form of this ancient greeting ritual is the interlocking and shaking of the palms and was originally used in the nineteenth century to seal commercial transactions between men of equal status. It has become widespread only in the last hundred years or so and has always remained in the male domain until recent times. In most Western and European countries today it is performed both on initial greeting and on departure in all business contexts, and increasingly at parties and social events by both women and men. The handshake evolved as a way men could cement a commercial deal with each other. Even in places such as Japan, where bowing is the traditional greeting, and Thailand, where they greet using the Wai — a gesture that looks similar to praying — the modern handshake is now widely seen.
In most places, the hands are normally pumped five to seven times but in some countries, for example Germany, they pump two or three times with an additional hold time equal to an extra two pumps. The French are the biggest glad-handers, shaking on both greeting and departure and spending a considerable time each day shaking hands. Who Should Reach First? Although it is a generally accepted custom to shake hands when meeting a person for the first time, there are some circumstances in which it may not be appropriate for you to initiate a handshake. Considering that a handshake is a sign of trust and welcome, it is important to ask yourself several questions before you initiate the hand shake: Am I welcome? Is this person happy to meet me or am I forcing them into it?
SalesPeople are taught that if they initiate a handshake with a customer on whom they call unannounced or uninvited, it can Produce a negative result as the buyer may not want to The Definitive Book of Body Language welcome them and feels forced to shake hands. Under these circumstances, salespeople are advised that it is better to wait for the other person to initiate the handshake and, if it is not forthcoming, use a small head-nod as the greeting. In some countries, shaking hands with a woman is still an uncertain practice (for example, in many Muslim countries it would be considered rude to do so; instead a small head-nod is acceptable), but it’s now been found that women who initiate a firm handshake are rated — in most places — as more open-minded and make better first impressions.
How Dominance and Control Are Communicated Considering what has already been said about the impact of the Palm-Up and Palm-Down gestures, let’s explore their relevance in handshaking. In Roman times, two leaders would meet and greet each other with what amounted to a standing version of modern arm wrestling. If one leader was stronger than the other, his hand would finish above the other’s hand in what became known as the Upper Hand position. Let’s assume that you have just met someone for the first time and you greet each other with a handshake. One of three basic attitudes is subconsciously transmitted: 1. Dominance: ‘He is trying to dominate me. I’d better be cautious. ‘ 2.
Submission: ‘I can dominate this person. He’ll do what I want. ‘ 3. Equality: ‘I feel comfortable with this person. ‘ These attitudes are sent and received without our being aware of them, but they can have an immediate impact on the outcome of any meeting. In the 1970s we documented the effect of these handshake techniques in our business skills 42 The Power Is in Your Hands classes and taught them as business strategies, which, with a little practice and application, can dramatically influence any face-to-face meeting, as you will see. Dominance is transmitted by turning your hand (striped sleeve) so that your palm faces down in the handshake (see below).
Your palm doesn’t have to face directly down, but is the upper hand and communicates that you want to take control of the encounter. Taking control Our study of 350 successful senior management executives (89% of whom were men) revealed that not only did almost all of the managers initiate the handshake, 88% of males and 31% of females also used the dominant handshake position. Power and control issues are generally less important to women, which probably accounts for why only one in three women attempted the Upper Hand ritual. We also found that some women will give men a soft handshake in some social contexts to imply submissiveness. This is a way of highlighting their femininity or implying that domination of her may be possible.
In a business context, however, this approach can be disastrous for a woman because men will give attention to her feminine qualities and not take her seriously. Women who display high femininity in business meetings are not taken seriously by other business women or men, despite the fact that it’s now fashionable or politically correct to say everyone is the 43 The Definitive Book of Body Language same. This doesn’t mean a woman in business needs to act in a masculine way; she simply needs to avoid signals of femaleness such as soft handshakes, short skirts and high heels if she wants equal credibility. Women who show high feminine signals in a serious business meeting lose credibility.
In 2001, William Chaplin at the University of Alabama conducted a study into handshakes and found that extroverted types use firm handshakes while shy, neurotic personalities don’t. Chaplin also found that women who are open to new ideas used firm handshakes. Men used the same handshakes whether they were open to new ideas or not. So it makes good business sense for women to practise firmer handshaking, particularly with men. The Submissive Handshake The opposite of the dominant handshake is to offer your hand (striped sleeve) with your palm facing upwards (as below), symbolically giving the other person the upper hand, like a dog exposing its throat to a superior dog. The submissive handshake 44
The Power Is in Your Hands This can be effective if you want to give the other person control or allow him to feel that he is in charge of the situation if for example, you were making an apology. While the palm-up handshake can communicate a submissive attitude, there are sometimes other circumstances to consider. As we have seen, a person with arthritis in their hands will be forced to give you a limp handshake because of their condition and this makes it easy to turn their palm into the submissive position. People who use their hands in their profession, such as surgeons, artists and musicians, may also give a limp handshake, purely to protect their hands.
The gesture clusters they use following their handshake will give further clues for your assessment of them – a submissive person will use more submissive gestures and a dominant person will use more assertive gestures. How to Create Equality When two dominant people shake hands, a symbolic power struggle takes place as each person attempts to turn the other’s palm into the submissive position. The result is a vice-like handshake with both palms remaining in the vertical position and this creates a feeling of equality and mutual respect because neither is prepared to give in to the other. Communicating equality 45 The Definitive Book of Body Language How to Create Rapport
There are two key ingredients for creating rapport in a handshake. First, make sure that yours and the other person’s palms are in the vertical position so that no one is dominant or sub! missive. Second, apply the same pressure you receive. This means that if, on a firmness scale of 1-10, your handshake registers a 7 but the other person is only a 5, you’ll need to back off 20% in strength. If their grip is a 9 and yours is a 7, you’ll need to increase your grip by 20%. If you were meeting a group of ten people, you’d probably need to make several adjustments of angle and intensity to create a feeling of rapport with everyone and to stay on an equal footing with each person.
Also keep in mind that the average male hand can exert around twice the power of the average female hand, so allowances must be made for this. Evolution has allowed male hands to exert a grip of up to 100 pounds (45kg) for actions such as tearing, gripping, carrying, throwing and hammering. Remember that the handshake evolved as a gesture to say hello or goodbye or to seal an agreement so it always needs to be warm, friendly and positive. How to Disarm a Power Player The Palm-Down Thrust is reminiscent of the Nazi salute and is the most aggressive of all handshakes because it gives the receiver little chance of establishing an equal relationship.
This handshake is typical of the overbearing, dominant person who always initiates it, and their stiff arm with palm facing downwards forces the receiver into the submissive position. 46 The Power Is in Your Hands The Palm-Down Thrust If you feel someone is giving a Palm-Down Thrust to you on purpose, here are several counters to it: 1. The Step-to-the-RightTechnique If you receive a dominant handshake from a power player — and it’s mostly men who do it – it is not only difficult to turn his palm back up into an equal position, but it’s obvious when you do it. This technique involves first stepping forward with your left foot as you reach to shake hands. This takes a little practice, as stepping forward on the right foot is the natural position for 90% of people when shaking with the right hand.
The power player attempts to control Step forward on your left foot 47 The Definitive Book of Body Language Next, step forward with your right leg, moving across in front of the person and into his personal space. Finally, bring your left leg across to your right leg to complete the manoeuvre (see below), and shake the person’s hand. This tactic allows you to straighten the handshake or even turn it over into the submissive position. It feels as if you’re walking across in front of him and is the equivalent of winning an arm-wrestling bout. It also allows you to take control by invading his personal space. Walk across in front with your right leg and turn his palm up
Analyse your own approach to shaking hands and notice whether you step forward on your left or right foot when you extend your arm to shake hands. Most people are right footed and are therefore at a disadvantage when they receive a dominant handshake because they have little room to move and it allows the other person to dominate. Practise stepping into a handshake with your left foot and you will find that it is easier to deal with the power players who would try to control you. 48 The Power Is in Your Hands 2. The Hand-on-Top Technique When a power player presents you with a Palm-Down Thrust, respond with your hand in the Palm-Up position then put your left hand over his right to form a Double-Hander and straighten the handshake. The Double-Hander
This switches the power from him to you and is a much simpler way of dealing with the situation, and is much easier for women to use. If you feel the power player is purposefully trying to intimidate, and he does it regularly, grasp his hand on top and then shake it (as below). This can shock a power player so you need to be selective when using it and do it only as a last resort. The last resort The Cold, Clammy Handshake No one likes receiving a handshake that feels like you’ve been handed four cold breakfast sausages. If we become tense when meeting strangers, blood diverts away from the cells below the 49 The Definitive Book of Body Language outer layer of the skin on the hands – known as the dermis and goes to the arm and leg muscles for ‘fight or flight’ preparation.
The result is that our hands lose temperature and begin to sweat, making them feel cold and clammy and resulting in a handshake that feels like a wet salmon. Keep a handkerchief in a pocket or handbag so that you can dry your palms immediately before meeting someone important so you don’t make a poor first impression. Alternatively, before a new meeting, simply visualise that you are holding your palms in front of an open fire. This visualisation technique is proven to raise the temperature of the average person’s palm by 3-4 degrees. Gaining the Left Side Advantage When two leaders stand side by side for media photographs, they try to appear equal in physical size and dress code but the one who stands to the left of the picture is perceived by viewers to have a dominant edge over the other.
This is because it is easier to gain the upper hand when they shake, making the one to the left of the photograph appear to be in control. This is obvious in the handshake that took place between John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon prior to their television debate in 1960. At that time the world was ignorant about body language but, on analysis, JFK appears to have had an intuitive understanding about how to use it. He made a practice of standing on the left-hand side of a photograph, and applying the Upper-Hand position was one of his favourite moves. 50 The Power Is in Your Hands Gaining the Upper Hand JFK using the left-hand side advantage to put Richard Nixon into the weaker-looking position
Their famous election debate revealed a remarkable testimony to the power of body language. Polls showed that the majority of Americans who listened to the debate on radio believed that Nixon was the victor but the majority of those who watched it on television believed Kennedy to be the clear winner. This shows how Kennedy’s persuasive body language made the difference and eventually won him the Presidency. Standing on the left side of shot gives Bill Clinton the Upper Hand advantage over Tony Blair The Definitive Book of Body Language World leaders approaching from the wrong side — the right side of the photograph — and walking into a dominant handshake When Men and Women Shake Hands
Even though women have had a strong presence in the workforce for several decades, many men and women still experience degrees of fumbling and embarrassment in male/female greetings. Most men report that they received some basic handshaking training from their fathers when they were boys, but few women report the same training. As adults, this can create uncomfortable situations when a man reaches first to shake a woman’s hand but she may not see it — she’s initially more intent on looking at his face. Feeling awkward with his hand suspended in mid-air, the man pulls it back hoping she didn’t notice but as he does, she reaches for it and is also left with her hand dangling in a void.
He reaches for her hand again and the result is a mish-mash of tangled fingers that look and feel like two eager squid in a love embrace. 52 The Power Is in Your Hands Initial meetings between men and women can be thrown off by poor handshake technique. If this ever happens to you, intentionally take the other person’s right hand with your left, place it correctly into your right hand and say with a smile ‘Let’s try that again! ‘ This can give you an enormous credibility boost with the other person, because it shows you care enough about meeting them to get the handshake right. If you are a woman in business, a wise strategy is to give notice to others that you intend to shake hands so as to not catch them off guard.
Hold your hand out as early as possible to give clear notice of your intention to shake hands and this will avoid any fumbling. The Double-Hander A corporate favourite the world over, this is delivered with direct eye-contact, a candidly reassuring smile and a confident loud repetition of the receiver’s first name, often accompanied by an earnest inquiry about the receiver’s current state of health. The Double-Hander This handshake increases the amount of physical contact given by the initiator and gives control over the receiver by 53 The Definitive Book of Body Language restricting his right hand. Sometimes called the ‘politician’s handshake’, the initiator of the Double-Hander tries to give the impression he is rustworthy and honest, but when it’s used on a person he’s just met, it can have the reverse effect leaving the receiver feeling suspicious about the initiator’s intentions. The Double-Hander is like a miniature hug and is acceptable only in circumstances where a hug could also be acceptable. ‘You’re a lovable, memorable person whoever you are… ‘ Ninety per cent of humans are born with the ability to throw the right arm in front of the body – known as an over-arm blow – for basic self-defence. The Double-Hander restricts this defence capability, which is why it should never be used in greetings where a personal bond doesn’t exist with the other person.
It should be used only where an emotional bond already exists, such as when meeting an old friend. In these circumstances, self-defence is not an issue so the handshake is perceived as genuine. 54 The Power Is in Your Hands Yassar Arafat plants a Double-Hander on Tony Blair, whose tight-lipped expression shows he’s not impressed Handshakes of Control The intention of any two-handed handshake is to try to show sincerity, trust or depth of feeling for the receiver. Two significant elements should be noticed. Firstly, the left hand is used to communicate the depth of feeling the initiator wants to convey and this is relative to the distance the initiator’s left hand is placed up the receiver’s right arm.
It’s like an intention to embrace and the initiator’s left hand is used like a thermometer of intimacy – the further up the receiver’s arm it’s placed, the more intimacy the initiator is attempting to show. The initiator is both attempting to show an intimate connection with the receiver while, at the same time, attempting to control their movement. For example, the Elbow Grasp conveys more intimacy and control than the Wrist Hold, and the Shoulder Hold conveys more than the Upper-Arm Grip. 55 The Definitive Book of Body Language The Wrist Hold The Elbow Grasp The Upper-Arm Grip The Shoulder Hold Secondly, the initiator’s left hand is an invasion of the receiver’s personal space.
In general, the Wrist Hold and the Elbow Grasp are acceptable only where one person feels close to the other and in these cases the initiator’s left hand enters only the outer edge of the receiver’s personal space. The Shoulder Hold and Upper-Arm Grip show close intimacy and may even result in a hug (‘personal space’ will be covered more in Chapter 11). Unless the intimate feelings are mutual or the initiator doesn’t have a good reason for using a double-handed handshake, the receiver will probably be suspicious and mistrust the initiator’s intentions. In summary, if you don’t have 56 The Power Is in Your Hands some sort of personal bond with the other person, don’t use any Double-Hander. And if the person who gives you one doesn’t have a personal connection with you, look for their hidden agenda.
Unless you and the other person have a personal or emotional bond, only use a single-handed handshake. It’s common to see politicians greeting voters using doublehanded handshakes and businesspeople doing it to clients without realising it can be business and political suicide, putting people offside. The Blair-Bush Power Game During the Iraq conflict in 2003, George W Bush and Tony Blair presented to the media the image of a powerful alliance that was ‘united and equal’, but close analysis of photographs shows strong power plays by George Bush. Out-dressed and out-gunned: George Bush putting the Upper Hand on Tony Blair 57 The Definitive Book of Body Language
In the above picture, Bush leans in to deliver the Upper Hand from the left side of the photograph. Bush is dressed like an Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief and Blair is dressed like an English schoolboy meeting the headmaster. Bush has his feet firmly planted together on the ground and is using a Back Hold to control Blair. Bush regularly jockeys for the position left-of-picture, allowing him to be perceived as dominant and to look as if he were calling the shots. The Solution To avoid losing power if you inadvertently find yourself on the right-of-picture, extend your arm early as you approach from a distance as this forces the other person to face you straight on to shake hands.
This lets you keep the handshake on an equal basis. If photos or video are being shot, always approach the other person so you occupy the left-of-picture position. At worst, use a Double-Hander to give yourself an equal footing. The World’s Eight Worst Handshakes Here are eight of the world’s most annoying and disliked handshakes and their variations. Avoid them at all times: 1. The Wet Fish Credibility Rating: 1/10. Few greetings are as uninviting as the Wet Fish, particularly when the hand is cold or clammy. The soft, placid feel of the Wet Fish makes it universally unpopular and most people associate it with weak character, mainly because of the ease with which the palm can be turned over.
It is read by the receiver as a lack of commitment to the encounter, but there may be cultural or other implications – in some Asian and African cultures a limp handshake is the norm and a firm handshake can be seen as offensive. Also, one in twenty people 58 The Power Is in Your Hands suffer from a condition called hyperhydrosis, which is a genetic condition that causes chronic sweating. It’s wise to carry tissues or a handkerchief for mop-up strategies before any bout of handshaking. The Wet Fish The palms have more sweat glands than any other part of the body, which is why sweaty palms become so obvious. Surprisingly, many people who use the Wet Fish are unaware they do it so it’s wise to ask your friends to comment on your handshake style before deciding what you’ll use in future meetings. 2. The Vice Credibility Rating: 4/10.
This quietly persuasive style is a favourite of men in business and reveals a desire to dominate and assume early control of the relationship or put people in their place. The palm is presented in the down position with one sharp downward pump followed by two or three vigorous return strokes and a grip that can even stop blood flow to the hand. Sometimes it will be used by a person who feels weak and fears they will be dominated by others. The Vice 59 The Definitive Book of Body Language 3. The Bone-Crusher Credibility Rating: 0/10. A second cousin to the Vice, the Bone-Crusher is the most feared of all handshakes as it leaves an indelible memory on the recipient’s mind and fingers and impresses no one other than the initiator.
The Bone-Crusher is the trademark of the overly aggressive personality who, without warning, seizes the early advantage and attempts to demoralise his opponent by grinding his knuckles to a smooth paste. If you are female, avoid wearing rings on your right hand in business encounters as the Bone-Crusher can draw blood and leave you to open your business dealings in a state of shock. The Bone-Crusher Unfortunately, there are no effective ways to counter it. If you believe someone has done it on purpose, you could bring it to everyone’s attention by saying, ‘Ouch! That really hurt my hand. Your grip is too strong. ‘ This puts the advocate of the Bone-Crusher on notice not to repeat the behaviour. 4. The Finger-Tip Grab Credibility Rating: 2/10.
A common occurrence in male—female greetings, the FingerTip Grab is a handshake that missed the mark and the user mistakenly grabs the other person’s fingers. Even though the initiator may seem to have an enthusiastic attitude towards the receiver, he in fact lacks confidence in himself. In these circumstances, the main aim of the Finger-Tip Grab is to keep 60 The Power Is in Your Hands the receiver at a comfortable distance. The Finger-Tip Grab can also result from personal space differences between the people in the handshake. This could happen if one person’s intimate space was two feet (60cm) and the other’s was three feet (90cm), the latter stands further back during greeting so the hands don’t connect properly.
If this happens to you, take the other person’s right hand with your left and place it correctly in your right hand and say, with a smile ‘Let’s try that again! ‘ and shake hands equally. This builds your credibility because you are telling the other person that you think they are important enough for you to get it right. 5. The Stiff-Arm Thrust Credibility Rating: 3/10. Like the Palm-Down Thrust, the Stiff-Arm Thrust tends to be used by aggressive types and its main purpose is to keep you at a distance and away from their personal space. It’s also used by people raised in rural areas, who have larger personal space needs and want to protect their territory. The Stiff-Arm Thrust 61 The Definitive Book of Body Language
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