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Body Language Munchkin Lesson 1: How Hands Help You Build Trust

Body Language Munchkin:

Lesson 1: The Hands are Trust Indicators

When it comes to building trust in body language it is the hands and not the “eyes” that have it.  Bad pun I know, but still it is an extremely valid and important point to make.

See going way back to the caveman days when we looked at other people, especially people we didn’t know, the first think we looked at was their hands. What these noble ancestors were looking for was weapons or any sign that these people had the intent to attack or harm them.

That is why you do handshakes or the police ask you to put your hands up. To help establish that you are not a threat. (Well that’s not the only reason for handshakes, but that will be covered in a future body language munchkin.)

Shaking hands creates a connection and helps build trust.

Shaking hands creates a connection and helps build trust.

If you ask people today what the first thing they look at when they see another person the majority will say the eyes or the face, but studies have shown again and again that that is in fact not true.  What we still look at today without even realizing it is the hands. Another study showed that in court cases if the defendant kept their hands out of site during the trial, the jury found them to be much less trustworthy than jurors that kept their hands visible during trials.

So if you want to show the world you are a trustworthy person yourself, make sure your hands are visible.  This includes at work, during presentations, when meeting new people, networking, family gatherings, or heaven forbid at your own jury trial… Just remember to keep your hands out of your pockets and where people can see them.

Where should I keep them and how should I hold them?  That is a great question, but outside the realm of this bite sized body language lesson.  For now you will be safe keeping them out of your pockets and hanging at your side in normal circumstances. For presentations and networking do what comes natural, but still keep them out where they can be seen.  Don’t worry, I will cover more about hands in my next Body Language Munchkin.


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