4 Gestures That Turn People Off

© Andres Rodriguez

© Andres Rodriguez

A new article featured on the Inc website suggests that small movements that you make–movements you probably aren’t aware of–could be the key to whether others trust you–or not. 

The article features the work of Dr. David DeSteno, a Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University. The details of the study is outlined in this video.

Through their research, DeSteno and his team found that 4 specific gestures were associated untrustworthiness. Those gestures are:

1. Hand-Touching

The article suggests that hand-touching can make you look tentative and nervous, which could cause observers to think you are hiding something or not being honest, or that you lack confidence. Clasping your hands together may also be interpreted as a closing-off gesture: It could look as if you were putting up a fence between yourself and the people you’re speaking with.

2. Touching your own face

Touching your own face is a common gesture that signals you are thinking. But what you are thinking is unknown to those who are trying to determine if you can be trusted. And if they don’t know you well, the safe choice might be to decide that you’re up to no good.

3. Crossing your arms, and

Crossing your arms is a classic closing gesture. Crossing the arms tends to communicate that your true feelings will remain undisclosed, and that you are not open for collaboration.

4. Leaning Away

We like people who like us. When you lean in, you express the desire to be close. When you lean away, you could very well be seen as someone who is running away, disengaged, or avoiding contact–you’re aloof on the balcony, not moshing on the dance floor.

Those of us in any relationship, be it personal or professional, need to earn the trust others. With a little practice, you can avoid touching your hands and face, crossing your arms, or leaning away from people you’re conversing with.

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