You outstretch your hand toward someone in a meeting or presentation. “Yes, Amit, you have a question?”
Is your palm up, or down, or are you pointing with your finger?
Does it matter?
As it turns out, it does. Research shows palm up is most effective.
It’s somethng I’ve coached people on for years. And I recently came across information that helps me better understand how and why it works.
One of my favorite books is Super Better by Jane McGonigal. In it, she notes that from ancient, pre-language times, holding a hand out with the palm up indicates a welcome, and an offer of help. A palm down, however, is a negative, a rejection.
And, Allan Pease in his Ted Talk “
So what does this have to do with Leadership Presence?
Gesturing with your palm up conveys that you welcome and support the listener — that they are “in good hands” with you. it’s one the micro behaviors that make you appear open, approachable, and able to create connection between you and other people.
In the coming week, notice what palm position you and others use most often. When gesturing toward another person, do you do it with your palm up, your palm down, or do you point? Watch what other people do … and notice your response to them.
If you tend to point or gesture with your palm down, start mapping in the palm up approach..