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RealSimple.com: What Is Your Body Language Saying?

How to Read Hands

Opening Up Your Hands

By spreading your hands as if serving someone a treat off a tray, you are indicating that you are open to new ideas being offered. Facing your palms down or clenching your fists shows you have a strong position—one that may not be so flexible.
RealSimple
Flailing Your Arms

You’re not out of control. Research shows that those who gesture when they speak seem energetic, agreeable, and warm, while those who gesticulate less are seen as logical and analytic. Keep in mind that moderation is key; overly animated gestures that border on frantic make you appear unbelievable and less powerful. If you fear you may be too animated, perhaps in a job interview, hold on to something when you talk.



Hiding Your Hands

Stashing your hands in your lap, stuffing them in your pockets, and holding them behind your back are movements of deceit—you’re hiding something. “A person may be telling you one thing, but these cues indicate you’re not getting the whole story,” says Barbee.



Picking at Your Nails

Messing with cuticles is a sign of low confidence and timidity. Try steepling your fingers (hands folded together with index fingers extended) so you can’t pick and you instead appear self-assured. (Photo: Peter Hapak)

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