"The part of the brain that controls decision making, doesn't control language", Simon Sinek. So how can we build trust, nonverbally?

The part of the brain that controls decision making, doesn’t control language.
— Simon Sinek, How Great Leaders Inspire Action
Gaining Trust

This is what your subconscious brain sees when you interact with someone, or if you see them from a distance and you can't see their hands! It may seem a little far fetched, but research shows that the first place we look when we see someone, is their hands.

From an evolutionary perspective this makes sense. Our ancestors, over thousands of years and until relatively recently, needed to know whether the person approaching was a friend or foe. It was a matter of life or death. Is that person carrying a weapon or not? Is my life in imminent danger? Today, most people don't have have this risk to contend with, however we still look at the hands first. Our hands are our biggest trust indicators and if they're not visible- then it just doesn't feel right. 

Let's take that first statement:
'This is what your subconscious brain sees when you interact with someone, or if you see them from a distance and you can't see their hands!'

And look at it from another perspective:
This is what people see, when you interact with them or when they see you from a distance and your hands aren't visible. 

That probably has more impact, because most of us are trying to build trust when we interact. Quite possibly this is one behaviour that's holding you back. Let's start working on this right away, so take your hands out of your pockets (guys- you do this far too much, there is truth in what your mothers and grandmothers told you!) and listen up...

When you interact with people that you're trying to build trust with, you need to have your hands visible- not behind your back, in your pockets, under the table, or behind a podium. In fact, ditch the podium altogether, so that your full body and hands are clearly visible. Even if you carry something onto the stage, into the classroom or into a meeting- make sure you carry it in a way that your hands are still visible. 

Use Purposeful Hand Gestures To Add Meaning

If you're talking you should use your hands to express yourself with purpose, better explaining your words. When we do this we are communicating on two levels. This visual communication is interpreted much quicker and carries more weight than your words. It also helps people to engage and remember what you're saying. Don't just wave them around erratically, make your gestures meaningful by visually describing your words. 

When you stand or walk, have your hands loosely by your sides. I realise this can feel a little awkward if you aren't used to it, but there are great benefits to correcting your stance and it doesn't take much effort to practice it until it feels natural- I'll talk a bit more about this in one of my next posts. Until then, observe your own behaviour. What do you do with your hands? Are you hiding them? Are you using them with purpose?

Practice making your hands visible and remember how important this is in creating feelings of trust. You could be 100% trustworthy, but you may not be signalling this to your clients (or potential romantic partner), so to them- it may not feel right. 

I'll leave you with this article by Science of People- it has some good ideas about how to express yourself with your hands and will help you to understand more about purposeful hand gestures. 

P.S. I don't really believe that anyone is 100% trustworthy! Did you know that in a ten minute conversation, we're lied to two to three times? That's a topic for another post.