We know that effective communication is when we talk and use our hands.
For example, when we pause our speaking, we freeze our hand gestures. When we speak, we move our hands again. (Check out this blog post for a refresher)
Now the question is, what do you do when you are not talking?
You want to seem intelligent, but more than that, you want to come across in a manner that indicates that you think the people talking are intelligent, too.
That’s called high expectations.
However, if you are too dog-oriented as a human being — which means you like people, are highly accommodating, and like tranquility and for everyone to get along — you often will come across as having low expectations.
How do you avoid the appearance of low expectations?
Have you ever gone to a wedding and watched the groomsmen? They stand with their hands folded in front of them, and their arms look like fig leaves. What are the bridesmaids doing? They’re standing with the bouquets, and their forearms are parallel to the ground.
When you’re standing with your hands folded in front of you, it just doesn’t look like you’re confident.
The second thing to avoid is putting your hands in your pockets. Come on, get your hand out of your pockets!
The third thing you want to avoid as a dog-oriented person is the hands behind the back. You know, the one where you look like you’re on a leisurely walk in the woods.
So avoid fig leaves, pockets, and walk in the woods. That’s what dogs do.
What about cats? Oh, cats don’t want to get along with anyone. They want people to be afraid of them. So what do they do?
They put their hands on their hips. They actually occupy more space in reality.
The other thing cats will do is keep their arms crossed, which indicates, “Hey, I have low expectations too, but not like that dog.”
Remember the dog? The dog says, “I hope you like me.” What does the cat say? “You better be afraid of me.”
Both of those are low expectations. They don’t work.
How do you come across as having high expectations?
How do you indicate to someone speaking that you think they’re intelligent, capable, and can do things quite well?
You show that you have high expectations by not moving your hands when you are not talking — try keeping both forearms at your side, parallel to the ground, or a combination of both.
Have you ever seen the late Queen of England? She stood in the combination pose all the time. It looks good, and looks intelligent. I bet the British people think that they’re intelligent too.
Bonus tip: when you have both hands parallel to the ground, keep one hand cupped over the other rather than lacing your fingers for more natural movement when you do start talking.
Want to learn more? Here’s a video where Michael Grinder shows you how to use your hands, both while talking and not talking.
Take your communication to the next level with one-on-one coaching with Michael!