Photo: innerlooping via YouTube
What do you do with your hands during interviews, meetings or other important interactions you have with people who don’t really know you, but could potentially play an important role in your future?And where do you place those mitts to make you appear the most confident in what you’re saying (Remember: The more confident you look, the more likely you’ll get the results you want)?
Caroline McMillan at The Daily Muse advises that first, you should refrain from “wringing your hands” or “using too many hand gestures” since this communicates that you are nervous or not confident in your environment. To prevent this from happening, McMillan suggests holding a pencil or pen to keep your hand rested on an object.
Nancy R. Mitchell at The Etiquette Advocate agrees that you should try not to “look like a nervous child” so “don’t sit with both hands in your lap beneath the table.” Instead, “rest an arm on the arm of your chair or on the table.”
And the more you can spread out on that arm rest, the bigger you’ll appear, hence, the more powerful you’ll appear as well. In the book “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers,” author Lois P. Frankel says that you should take up more space to appear more confident, and “untuck your arms, put your hands on the table, and claim your space!”
Once you place your hands on the table, a body language guide published by Westside Toastmaster, says you should try to keep your palm off the table, because if your palm is faced downwards, “you will project immediate authority. The other person will sense that you’ve given them an order…and may begin to feel antagonistic towards you.”
On the other hand, if you have your palm facing up, it’s a sign of submissiveness and being too accommodating. During a business interaction, this may communicate to others that you’re unsure of yourself and of your future.
Either way, you can’t win so keep those palms off the table.
To get a last opinion, we reached out to Eddie Koller, managing director at the Howard-Sloan-Koller group, a media and technology recruitment firm, who tells us people shouldn’t focus too much on the perfect place to put their hands. Instead, Koller says you should just rest your hands on whatever is most comfortable.
“Always keep things in check to a degree,” he tells us.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.