Whether you are in a meeting, greeting a stranger, speaking to a group of friends, your body language speaks volumes. Following are three hand gestures you can start using in social and business settings to convey confidence. You will find once you begin using these hand gestures, you will feel more confident on the inside, as well. For demonstrations of these, click on the video above.
All three hand gestures have one thing in common: the thumb. Body language experts agree that showing the thumb displays confidence and power, while hiding the thumb conveys discomfort and a lack of confidence.
Wave: Whether you are waving to a friend or waving to try to get someone’s attention, there is a confident way to wave. Picture someone with their hand near their chest and fingers close together, waving small and rapidly. Now, picture someone with their hand away from their body, fingers spread apart with their hand raised. The second wave is a big wave that wants to be seen! See video for a demo of each type of wave.
Steepling: If you are seated and listening, placing your hands together and widely steepling your fingers displays confidence. No doubt you have seen the “sharks” exhibit this body language on the popular television show, “Shark Tank.” Some people also steeple their hands when standing; however, if someone does this while standing for more than a few seconds, it looks odd to me. It just doesn’t appear nearly as natural as when people are sitting, resting their elbows against the arms of a chair or on a desk or table. There is something about elbows splayed and fingers pointed up and out from the body that does not look natural. However, I know of a number of powerful people who commonly do this.
Clasping hands and fingers: When you interlace your fingers, you display that you are still and listening to the other person speaking. This is a great gesture to display presence. And when you combine this with your thumbs out and pointed up, you are also showing confidence.
Giving the popular “thumbs up” is a positive universal sign in most parts of the world; however, it is a negative sign in some countries such as in west Africa and the middle east. Therefore, check the cultural norms in other countries before assuming this is a positive gesture.