Transcript – Body language, the power is in the palm of your hands by Allan Pease at TEDxMacquarieUniversity
Allan Pease – Professor of Psychology, ULIM International University
Good morning. Before we kick off let’s get a bit of light in the room guys, so I can see the faces of the participants that we get little lighter and see where you are. That’s a bit better. Good.
Everybody hold your right hand in front like this in a handshaking position. Uncross your legs. Relaxed position. Right hand in front.
When I say the word, “Now” here’s what we’re going to do. I am going to ask you to turn to someone besides you, shake hands as if you’re meeting for the first time and keep pumping till I ask you to stop. Then you’ll stop and freeze it and we’re going to analyze what’s happening. You got that? You don’t have time to think about this. Do it now. Pick anybody and pump. Pump, everybody.
Pump! Pump! Pump!
Freeze it. Hold it. Stop. Hold it. Freeze it.
Keep your hands locked. Keep them locked.
Person’s whose hand is most on top is saying I’ll be the boss for the rest of the day.
And when you meet people for the very first time, the first 4-minutes of meeting a new person you decide pretty much 80% of your attitude about it, don’t you? You decide in the first 4-minutes of meeting somebody if you’ll give them a fair go, a fair hearing or if you’re going to reject them.
The first thing is likely to happen is a handshake. And I’m going to try a couple in the front row here. You get one of three feelings when you lock hands with people. First feeling is — it feels pretty good. I think you and I will get on pretty well. I think we could do business together. We’re going to get on well. That was a good one.
Let’s try a second one.
Just check my cash, see if it’s all still there, yeah. Felt a bit intimidated there.
Let’s try the third one. 1Yes, she’ll do anything I want. Won’t you? Actually you all had roughly the same handshake. But you do get one of three gut feelings. It has to do with two things.
One, the angle of the hand, second, the power of the hand. I’ll demonstrate. This gentleman in the front row. Can you join me up here please? Yes? The fellow looking concerned. Come up here.
Here’s your modern western handshake. Here’s how it looks.
It’s been in this position for about 2,000 years. If you go back 4,000 years to the Roman era, on vases you would have seen it looking like this. That’s the original position. It has several significances. So what would happen is that the troop leaders would meet after battle or training. They’re always men, so this has remained a male activity until recent times.
When they would meet they would do this. If his arm was stronger it would go something like this. And you’d then say “He’s got the upper hand.” Upper hand is an ancient Roman expression. If he’s got the upper hand, his guys get the first crack at the wining, the dining and the dancing. My guys have to wait.
If it goes the other way my guys get first crack. If it’s in the middle it’s 50/50. This was originally done squatting. Now we do it standing. So the fingers are below the wrist instead of above. But essentially, we have the same position.
So when the hands lock if his hand is slightly on top — doesn’t have to be right on top, just a little bit. I’ll get a feeling, at a gut level, and we think this is hard wired because you’ve never been trained to decode this. But I get a feeling he’s coming on a bit heavy. It feels like, yeah, I think I get dominated here.
If it goes the other way, I feel like I got this sucker all lined up, haven’t I? How do you create rapport with a handshake?
Here are the two rules. First keep your hand absolutely straight. Second this takes a bit of practice, particularly if you’re female. Give the same pressure you receive. So on a scale of 1 to 10. Let’s say that 10 is a really strong one, and a 1 is four breakfast sausages. Okay?
Now let’s try it again.
Okay, on a scale of 1 to 10, yours is about a 7. Mine’s about a 7 too. Therefore, it felt pretty good. Neither got the upper hand, the dominant hand. And that’s why at a gut level we both felt pretty good. I can see the look on your face. That felt okay. Yeah, that felt good. Yeah, that’s very good.
What happens if you meet someone who’s got — This time you’re going to give me a 9 and I’ve only got a 7. So give me a 9 on intention. Now the hand will go straight on top. I’ve got to respond with an extra 20% just to level it up. If I don’t, he’s going to have one up on me before we start. He’ll know it and I’ll know it, but not a word’s been said. Makes sense? Give him a round of applause. Thank you.