Gestures, facial expressions and postures mirror
our thoughts and intentions. Read on to learn the hidden messages being
conveyed by the person talking to you.
1. The steeple position
This hand position signals to your counterpart that you are listening
intently and thinking hard about what to say next. According to
communication researchers, hands positioned at chest height and meeting
at the fingertips signal above all people with very precise thought
2. The woodcutter
In the open version of the steeple position, the hands are parallel and
face inwards. It is often accompanied by brief chopping movements to
underline important arguments and negotiating points. Here your
opposite number is saying to you: “This is an extremely serious
matter to me!“
3. Helping hands
The classical “open“ hand movement (see below) is intended
to indicate that the speaker has no aggressive intentions. Anyone who
extends upwards-facing open hands across the negotiating table to their
counterpart, like an olive branch, wants to make peace and offer mutual
4. Treacherous pointing
We learn as children never to point at people, but researchers have
actually discovered that our fingertips are directly linked with the
speech centers in our brain so that their movements often transmit
unconscious thoughts and opinions. When we are nervous, even if we
don’t notice it, our fingers are constantly moving, rubbing
together, on our arms and body or playing with objects (pens, paper).
5. Tongue games
In situations in which we are unsure or angry, like gorillas, humans
too tend to hold their tongue briefly between their teeth so that the
tip sticks out. This probably means that your counterpart does not
share your opinion but does not want to say so either at all or yet.
for pursed lips, head movements and cold shoulders!