Thursday, March 4, 2010

Body Language (Part III-Gestures)

                              Body Language (Gestures):

Facial expressions and hand gestures-
Our face is the most visually expressive part of our body. There are six universal facial expressions:-Happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, anger and distrust. Each of the expressions is accompanied with a combination of recognisable gestures. After the face, the hands are the most expressive part of our body. We use them to reinforce our speech or on occasions even as its replacement.

Palm Gestures-
(i) Open palm--> The open palm gesture indicates truth, sincerity, trustworthiness and agreement. For example, the palm is held in the air when testifying in a court of law or placed on a Holy Book while bearing witness.
* There are two basic palm positions-the palm facing upward and the palm facing downward. In the upward-facing position, a person may be asking for something, as in the case of a beggar, and in the downward-facing position, he may be trying to hold down or constrain something *
* When a person wishes to be totally sincere and truthful, he hold out one or both palms (exposed) to the other person and conveys his desire to be frank with him *
* A child may hide his palms behind him when he is not telling or hiding something *
* A husband, trying to explain his wife why he was coming so late at night, may either hold his palms together or have them in his pockets; the hidden palms indicating to the wife that he is withholding the truth *
* A sharp salesman, noting a customer's open palm gesture, will understand that the customer is genuinely not interested in his product *

Palm Power Gestures-
There are three main palm command gestures- palm-up, palm-down, palm closed-finger-pointed position.
* The palm-up position signifies submission, a non-threatening gesture. The palm-down position denotes authority and depending upon the relationship between a worker and his senior, the situation could be explosive or just routine. In the palm-closed-finger-pointed position, the speaker compels his listener into submission *
* One of the most irritating and annoying gestures is to see the speaker pointing a finger at you (esp. index finger), and beating, time or punctuating his words with it. A habitual finger pointer, will learn to create a more relaxed attitude, with a positive effect on people, if he only learns to use the palm-up or palm-down positions more often *

The age old custom of shaking hands, practised even today, involves the interlocking and shaking of the palms. In English-speaking countries, the handshake gesture is used both during initial greeting and when leaving. During such handshakes, the hands are generally pumped five to seven times. While shaking hands, one of the following three basic attitudes is conveyed---> dominance, submission or equality:
* When your palm faces upward, submission is denoted. For an instance, an arthritic patient, being weak, can be submissive; a surgeon, an artist or a musician, wanting to protect his hand, might be submissive too *
* Dominance is conveyed when your palm faces down in the handshake, in relation to the other person's palm *
* Two dominant people shaking hands would like to see the other submissive, hence there is every likelihood of the hands being held in a vice-like grip *
* In order to intimidate the other dominant person, step forward with your left foot as you reach to shake hands, the bringing your right foot forward, place it in his person space, then bring your left foot beside the other foot and shake the person's hand. This allows you to take command, by invading the other person's personal space *
* Most right-handed people are at a disadvantage when they get a dominant handshake, for they have very little manoeuvrable space or flexibility to move within the confines of the handshake, letting the other person gain mastery *
* Another way to dominate the other person, is to grasp the person's hand on top and then shake it, for then your hand, which will be in a palm facing down position, is in a superior position on top of his. This, of course, should be done judiciously and cautiously *
* Though, a handshake is a sign of welcome, sales people are taught that if they initiate the handshake with a buyer on whom they have called without appointment, the result could be negative as the buyer may not want to receive them *

Rubbing Palms Together-
Rubbing the palms together denotes some positive expectations from the doer. Foe example, the master of ceremonies or a dice thrower or a magician, rubs his palms in anticipation of something positive.
* The speed at which a person rubs his palms together suggests that he expects the other person to benefit. For example if someone goes to a car dealer and describes what he is looking for, the dealer rubs his palms together quickly and says that he has the right car for him. The signal here is that the dealer expects the buyer to benefit *
* If you rub your palms very slowly, then the message the other person gets is that you are crafty or devious and applied to the car dealer-buyer example, the buyer would think that he is not going to benefit and that the dealer would be benefiting himself *


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