Body language and arms

The Royal Spanish Academy states that gesturing involves movement of the face, hands or other parts of the body (such as arms and legs), with which we express affection or transmit messages. Therefore, next to the face, hands (together with the arms) are the parts of the body that offer a huge set of possibilities for non-verbal communication.

In the same way that in a writing we underline something important to attract attention, with our hands and arms we underline an idea with the same purpose: to accentuate, replace or even contradict what we are trying to convey with our words. A thumbs-up indicates approval; open palms (along with the "poker face") expresses disbelief, hands on the chain, hostility or arrogance, among many others.

Whether in normal conversations (with our friends, family, partner, etc.) or when we speak in public, the ideal is to be natural, so expressions, gestures, movements, should also be natural. The gestures should not be extravagant or exaggerated; not so subtle either because it may seem that the interlocutor has studied them too much. The idea is to be yourself and move naturally.

However, there are certain gestures that we should avoid, due to their negative connotations, especially during a presentation, conference or seminar, since they may contradict what we are saying:


Hide your hands

Putting your hands inside your pockets, behind your back or any other where we don't show them to the public, can convey a lack of honesty or an attempt to hide information.

Crossing arms

Crossing the arms forward with the hands at the level of the pelvis expresses discomfort and insecurity, since unconsciously we are protecting our vital organs. Likewise, putting the hands together in front of the body (as if we were covering ourselves with them) also shows insecurity and, in some cases, annoyance and hostility.

Corporal lenguage

Palms down

Showing hands with palms down imposes authority and can be mistaken for arrogance.


Closing the hand and pointing a finger is one of the most unpleasant gestures, especially to those who point it out, it is a gesture that shows hostility.

Touching the face

Putting your hands to your face (whether it is your mouth, eyes, ears, nose, or neck) is often associated with doubt, uncertainty, insecurity, anxiety, or dishonesty.

Of course, all these expressions of body language must be analyzed and interpreted in the proper context to avoid erroneous conclusions; A person who is very cold may cross his arms, but not out of insecurity. However, as we have previously explained, you should avoid putting your hands inside the pockets (or hiding them from the audience), crossing your arms forwards or backwards, as well as putting your hands on your hips, as much as possible. Ideally, let your arms and hands accompany the message, without gesturing excessively, without forcing any movement. To do this, you must leave your arms loose and relaxed on both sides of the body and start talking. After a few seconds, they will naturally be acting as auxiliaries to the speech.