There is one gesture that above all others manages to communicate wisdom, conviction and trustworthiness: the steeple. With the notable exception of Mr. Burns from The Simpsons, people who deploy this hand movement – fingertips touching in front of them like a triangle – tend to be socially astute and widely respected. Don’t believe us? Watch some clips of Barack Obama. The man can’t stop steepling, and within reason, nor should you.
To make an impact when you’re talking
It’s in your own hands – literally. Your palm and fingers constitute what psychologists call ‘trust indicators’ – the more of them you show, the more people come to believe in you and what you’re saying (studies have also found that pairing talking with hand gestures helps people remember what you’ve said more clearly). Tony Blair, memorably, could barely get through a sentence without chopping through the hair or waving his upturned palms around. As with most examples of body language, you only have to consider the opposite: people with their hands folded away or stuffed in their pockets look shifty or unwelcoming.