As much as 80% if communications is in the body language, and hands are one of the most important aspects to consider. Politicians are generally well trained in the art of hand gestures. Robert Phipps, a specialist who advises salespeople and politicians on effective communication, reveals some of their tricks:
- Show your hands: Never place hands in pockets or behind your back, but always in full view. Otherwise the message is: I cannot be trusted.
- Nothing crossed: Keep arms and legs uncrossed, possibly even leave your jacket unbuttoned. This means: I am open and honest with you.
- Keep it low: Don't turn palms too far upwards or raise arms too high. This is a sign of surrender, and weakness. But palms slightly up and outwards is seen as open and friendly.
- Palms down: The opposite of the above - this comes across as authoritarian and slightly threatening, so should be used with caution.
- "I am in control gesture": This is done by extending the hands and then turning the palms downwards in a sort of patting motion. It's favoured by politicians, but has to be used with care. Better, according to Mr. Phipps, is first showing the hands are empty, and in a seamless movement cupping them slightly and moving them towards the body.