The importance of hands in nonverbal communication

The importance of hands in nonverbal communication

Many times we ask ourselves the question of what to do with your hands. Today we will talk about the hands, their importance and how we should use them to get the best results from our social comunication.


  • 1 What are our hands for in body language?
  • 2 What do hand gestures mean
  • 3 The Triangle of Expression and its meaning

What are our hands on in body language?

The job of the hands is to work at multiple levels, and they also serve us to defend or attack. But in a modern society like ours, most occasions accompany us in our daily conversations. When we talk to someone, we move our hands without realizing it. Sometimes, if we don't know the other person, we are self-conscious and hide our hands, or keep them in our pockets.

Our hands, although they do not have the main role in our communication, are always present. They accompany us in their second role, to the word in their flight and to the face in their luminous expression. They help to know where the word started and form a living triangle with the face.

They do not have a stable resting position. When we wait for an order we place them on the front of the hips, ready to take care of something. While we speak, they can stand before us, before the public, open without stiffness, in foreshortening that tries to show their palms, an attitude similar to those of religious images in quiet prayer.

They are not still, although they could be in some moments. The words, the meaning of what we say moves them alone, without us having to intervene.

Vertical, horizontal, rarely oblique, circular movements in and out are produced.

Sometimes both act symmetrically. Sometimes one goes back to leave the other all the attention.

It may interest you: Nonverbal communication, the art of expressing yourself without speaking

What do hand gestures mean

Cross your hands in front or behind

Crossing the hands before the pelvic region is innocent posture, thymus, which should not be prolonged. Bringing the same position to the back and holding one hand with the other hand by the back is an attempt to control oneself, therefore express frustration or an attempt to hide nervousness.

Hands in pockets

The hands in the pockets denote pasotism and lack of involvement in the conversation or situation, but it also makes us think that the other hides more than the hands, that nobody knows.

Show thumbs out of pockets

If we leave the thumb out of the pocket, the attitude becomes clear: “it's all under control. I don't know what the big toe will have, also lord of victory and condemnation" In men it represents an attempt to demonstrate confidence and authority against women who attract them, or aggressiveness in a conflict situation.

Hide only thumbs inside pockets

It is a position that frames and highlights the genital area, therefore it is a sexually open attitude that men perform to show absence of fear or sexual interest For a woman.

Show the open palm

This action expresses sincerity and honesty, while closing the fist shows the opposite.

Bring your hands to your hips

He shows us a subtly aggressive attitude, since he wants to increase physical presence. Many men use it both to establish superiority in their social circle and to appear more masculine in the presence of women who attract them. The more the chest is exposed, the more aggressive it will communicate.

United fingertips

This posture express confidence and security, but it can be confused with arrogance. Very useful to detect if the rivals have good hands when playing poker.

Interlace the fingers of both hands

This gesture conveys a repressed, anxious or negative attitude. If your interlocutor adopts this position, break it by giving him something so he has to hold it.

Emphasize something with your hand

When someone offers two points of view with their hands, usually the one they like best reinforces it with the dominant hand and the palm facing up.

Show the palm of the hand

It's like saying that I tell the truth, that I don't hide anything. The palm, also white in the black man, has some bowels. Guilt and innocence are in the palms of the hands. The sobriety of the man fears falling into the dawn if he shows a lot of palms. Be discreet but not sullen or reserved. Credibility is in your hands, white welcome and friendship card.

The Triangle of Expression and its meaning

The hands expand the possibilities of human face expression. Since at all times, hands with the face form a triangle changing, like a permanent kaleidoscope that retains and attracts the attention of the interlocutor.

Sometimes they approach the face and the gesture becomes evident, hard, almost irresistible. Therefore it is not appropriate to abuse.

In the head resides the capacity of thought. And in the face, the senses. Pointing them out is unequivocal. The work of the head is pointed at the temples and on the forehead, where the eyes look inwards.

Rest your head on your hands

The hands provide support and rest when thinking. If we approach the fist, the work is hard. If you extend your fingers, the support becomes subtle: ideas do not weigh so much. If the whole palm is offered, I show the heaviness of boredom.

Rub some part of the face with your hand

If we gently rub our nose, cheek with a finger or we distractedly pinch the earlobe, it means that we are looking for a relationship that escapes us, it is like clearing the slight itching of one last doubt.

Press the chin against the hand

If we press the chin tightly with the pincer hand, it means that a great decision is about to be taken.

Put your hand on the back of the neck

Bringing the hand to the back of the neck demonstrates a dejected situation of failure and indecision, something that we do not usually allow in public.

The hand touching the bottom of the face

The index finger on a lower front tooth, the slightly open mouth, or a finger under the chin, are signs that usually mean perplexity.

The index raised

The index raised in front of the face or near the ear asks for attention, silence, precision. If you address the interlocutor, threaten or quarrel.

The glasses and hands

Glasses are an instrument to see better, which become a symbol of inspection, of weighted judgment, of intellectual analysis. It is the same to put them to remove them, look through them or above them, use them, either in the hand, as an index or as support: around them the attention and criticism of the surrounding world and the problem studied are combined.

It may interest you: 10 tips to improve your nonverbal communication

But the hands, we insist, rarely touch the face of the speaker. They move a certain distance, underlining facial expression. The look also does not meet your hands, normally. When he does the gesture takes an exaggerated relief.

Why the hands and face are turned towards the listener, with the spontaneity of its language, conditioned reflex not learned. Looking at them consciously implies a new, unusual communication load that breaks the natural balance between the word and the expressive gesture.

Do not forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel of Psychology and Education

Related tests
  • Depression test
  • Goldberg depression test
  • Self-knowledge test
  • how do others see you?
  • Sensitivity test (PAS)
  • Character test