Palm Power

One of the least noticed but most powerful non-verbal signals is given by the human palm. When used correctly, palm power invests its user with a degree of authority and the power of silent command over others.

There are three main palm command gestures: the palm-up position, the palm-down position and the palm-closed-finger-pointed position. The differences of the three positions are shown in this example: let's say that you ask someone to pick up a box and carry it to another location in the same room. We assume that you use the same tone of voice, the same words and facial expressions, and change only the position of your palm.

The palm facing up is used as a submissive, non-threatening gesture, reminiscent of the pleading gesture of a street beggar. The person being asked to move the box will not feel that the request is given with pressure and, in a normal superior/subordinate situation, will not feel threatened by the request.

When the palm is turned to face downwards, you will have immediate authority. The person to whom you have directed the request feels that he has been given an order to remove the box and may feel antagonistic towards you, depending on your relationship with him. For example, if the person to whom you gave the request was a co-worker of equal status, he could reject your palm-down request and would be more likely to carry out your wish if you had used the palm-up position. If the person to whom you give the request is your subordinate, the palm-down gesture is acceptable, as you have the authority to use it.

In Figure 19, the palm is closed into a fist and the pointed finger becomes a symbolic club with which the speaker figuratively beats his listener into submission. The pointed finger is one of the most irritating gestures that a person can use while speaking, particularly when it beats time to the speaker's words. If you are an habitual finger-pointer, try practising the palm-up and palm-down positions and you will find that you create a more relaxed attitude and have a more positive effect on other people.

Fijjyrfi 17 SutmtsiHU?palm position

Figure IS Dominant fia^fi position

Figure IS Dominant fia^fi position

Figure 19 Agg^siiL'epuiln ¡losUlnn

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