Give me a showing of hands if you know what one of the most brilliant tools are that you’ve got at your disposal, when you’re communicating with people to really build trust and likeability.
And in particular, when you’re meeting someone for the first time, and this doesn’t matter whether you’re meeting them in person, whether you’re meeting them across zoom, or camera (virtual like this), whether you’re seeing them on stage, whether you’re sitting around a boardroom table, whether you’re at the bar, whatever it might be.
What do you reckon one of the most powerful tools is, though, that you’ve got?
And if I didn’t give it away already, yeah, it’s our hands.
And showing our hands is such an important part of communicating with people that hey, we’re okay, we’re not enemies, we’re likeable.
And you can trust us.
Because apparently, like if your hands are hidden, subconsciously, so we’re not always aware of it, it’s like, “what are they hiding?”
And I guess that’s why when the police arrest someone, the first thing they do is they say, “hands up” because they want to make sure you’ve got nothing hidden in your hands.
Vanessa van Edwards, who runs a brilliant business, called the Science of People has done a lot of studies around body language, and in particular, hands and hand gestures.
And what her and her team did is they analysed a whole series of TED Talks.
So TED Talks, if you don’t know, they’re little snippets of gold, or great ideas or insights that a speaker gets to share in 18 minutes or less.
So they’ve got to be really, you know, concise, and get you to the point.
Anyway, they analysed all these TED Talks, to try and see what made the more popular ones different to the least popular ones.
And what they found is that in the least popular ones, people made on average, about 272 hand gestures.
I know, that sounds like a lot in itself, these were the least popular ones.
The most popular ones, they had up to 465 hand gestures.
And in some cases, the really, really good ones, the ones that have gone ballistically viral, like Simon Sinek, they used, or he used over 600 hand gestures in just 18 minutes.
So she wrote a book a little while ago too, called Captivate where she talks about this in a lot more detail.
But the number one takeaway was the importance of showing your hands.
So if you are doing a video, make sure that your hands can be seen. And she goes into more detail about you know, having too many crazy hand gestures that become distracting.
There’s like a zone, so if you play baseball, (I play baseball), it’s like your strike zone.
So an area here, this is where a lot of the really great hand gestures come and there’s so much more to it, but it means you know, just doing this does not necessarily get the effect that we’re talking about.
If you’re talking to people or you’re sitting around a boardroom table, just make sure your hands are in sight, so they’re on the table, you can see them.
And when you’re meeting people for the first time, you know don’t have your hands in your pockets or your hands behind your back, have them visible.
This is half the reason why when we meet people you know we go in for the handshake.
Again, it’s a showing of hands, that touch is really lovely (do you remember what that was like)?
For any of us still in lockdown that’s a foreign thing.
Now but that’s why touch even with hands is really important.
But just have a think about next time you’re out meeting people in the flesh, sitting at a table having a meeting, doing a video call like this, how can you make sure your hands are visible and that they’re able to be seen.
It’s not necessarily a conscious thing, you know do I like them, do I trust them cause I can’t see their hands. It’s a subconscious thing.
But hey, if it helps, why not give it a go.
Because after all, You are Valuable!