The Art of Body Language: Power in Your Hands.
When you meet a person for the very first time, the first four minutes, studies suggest, is the period in which you make 80-percent of your judgements about that individual. While this may indeed tie into the “don’t judge a book by its cover” mantra, it is within this period of four minutes that you will determine whether you’re going to embrace this person as someone you like or whether you’re going to reject them. In the midst of this comes the legendary handshake – if that initial coming together of hands seems firm and authoritative, you may feel as though this is someone you could do business with.
Thus, let us discuss the two elements all of this has to do with:
• The angle of the hand during a shake
• The power of the hand
When shaking hands with a sales prospect for the very first time, keep your hand absolutely straight – this will create an authoritative approach and establish an overtone that you’re confident and professional. If you’re a female, apply the same pressure to the handshake as you’re feeling from the prospect to “level it out.”
What are we getting at here? There are more connections between the palms of your hands and your brain than any other body parts – just consider what our hands can do: Brush hair, play the piano, create art, complete handshakes…but here’s the thing: When you’re dealing with people in a sales environment – that is, where you want to convince them or persuade them to say “yes” to a proposed offering – it’s vital to analyse where your palms are when talking. While this is something most people have never considered, you can’t believe what kind of power it has when negotiating.
Studies have shown that many “palm up” approaches when speaking tend to be less intimidating of a body language hint than “palm down” or “pointed finger” gestures; historically, palm down has been determined to be a power signal – think of the way the Nazis saluted Hitler during World War II with their palms down – while palm up has been traditionally associated with submission.
Here’s the good news about this: You can change and modify your hand signals with a little practice, changing what may have been some negative body language cues during your sales approach into more positive, attention-grabbing ones. For example, let’s say you find yourself always pointing your finger when talking to friends, associates or even potential customers. Subconsciously, and working within the analysis of body language, you’re clobbering those people over the head, thinking of them as “idiots” that are beneath you – our body language, you see, is an outward expression of our emotional conditions. All body language shows is what we’re feeling; whatever we may be feeling at a given moment is generally expressed through body posture.
Now, the reverse is true, as well – if you intentionally take certain positions or postures, you will begin to feel the emotions that go with them. The more you take on positive, confidence-inspiring postures – such as placing your fingertips together during a discussion – the more likely you will begin to feel that way, as well…even if you have been feeling quite the opposite.
Think about your body language carefully as you conduct your business today, notably the positioning of your hands as you speak with potential customers. Are you a palm up, palm over or pointing kind of individual? The goal here is that someone buys YOU because people are first – if someone buys YOU, particularly, as we mentioned, in the first four minutes of your introduction, there’s a good chance they will buy whatever comes with you.