The worst body language sign ever (Part One)

finger poinitng body language gestureIt’s more of a cliché (but very important to understand) that 80% of whatever we communicate and understand is via body language and not spoken words. Worse still, we have a tendency to plan our words as part of the preparation. We write speeches and rehearse them well. We try to mind our language whenever we communicate but never mind our body language and hence reduce the chances of communicating effectively.

The Experiment
Let’s try a small experiment, just think of one word or one thought that comes to your mind when you think about how a Business Blog should be. Just one idea of how it should be that’s it. Done? Not yet. Go on. …… (Hoping you have completed the task) Ok. So what was that thought? If I now tell you, “Don’t mind, it actually doesn’t matter. It was just a silly experiment”. What would be your reply to this? If it doesn’t matter what you thought, why did I ask you at the first place to think about it? Well you can conclude (without applying any sense) that I misguided you to something which wasn’t worth your attention. This is what we actually do with our body language. We try to take the user out of the communication and distract him rather than interacting with him by giving wrong gesture. One wrong gesture and the flow of communication get hampered.

What is it?
And what is that? The worst body language sign is “pointing to something” while talking. Using your index finger to point to some one, something, or just like that. We are humans (duh). Dumb little fellows. While talking to anyone, we try to grasp what is being communicated. But we do this not just via ears, but other sensory organs too. Specially eyes. All of a sudden the communicator points to something, most of us look there. Or worst he points us while talking “You, are the one I was looking for”. Quite a motivating statement but not a very positive feeling with the pointing gesture. In most of the cases we point with the index finger. This is like piercing a nail. The recipient unconsciously, even though for a fraction of second, gets distracted. He concentrates on the finger point, not on you, nor your message. The extreme of this gesture is when someone is reminded of his mistake, reprimanded or provoked. One finger pointing and Bang ! Starts the fight.

Doing the gesture.
This sign has been unconsciously used by many leaders, celebrities and our bosses of course. It’s now a wrong perception that this gesture is a symbol of Power. Rather it’s a weapon that hurts us more than others. This gesture is often used along with moving your hand up and down pointing as if you are hitting the person with a stick, or even moving hand forward as if you are poking a stick in him. That pains to the unconscious mind.

If you are still not convinced try searching meaning of the term “finger pointing”, is it positive? I can prove my point saying research shows that blah blah <add whatever you want here> and quoting n number of Body language books that I have read. But I would rather recommend you to research in your own office and you will understand that – the message being the same, pointing fingers worsens your chances of clear communication.

Hope you got the point! Finger pointing is a strict No-No when it comes to better communication via Body Language. This was part one of the post; I will be posting part two which will help you understand how you can unlearn this habit of finger pointing and things that you can immediately do. That will be a point – by – point post so that you can grasp easily.

Hey I am not done yet. About the thought, that I asked you, for an ideal Business Blog? You can go ahead and post the same in my survey that I have recently posted to improve your experience here at BizDharma. The link to the survey is

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Chris Anderson January 8, 2010 at 3:37 pm

I’ve always had an interest in body language. It’s amazing the little things you can pick up from reading body language.

with that said, I never thought about pointing like that, but your right, it distracts from what they are saying. Fascinating post.

Jens P. Berget January 8, 2010 at 10:14 pm

This is interesting, I never thought that pointing the finger could have such impact. I’ll try it on my wife while she’s talking :-)

Chanda Himanshu January 9, 2010 at 6:37 am

All the best Jens. Telling you the results of the same will require me a couple of posts more 😉
Do later reveal that it was intentional because as a long term result it bitters relations becuase you will be perceived as being too bossy !

Hulbert January 8, 2010 at 11:42 pm

Hi, I lived in Taiwan for about a year and I know that pointing fingers to anybody is considered very disrespectful. This would get you in a lot of trouble. But I also think that this is a “no-no” in any other part of the world. I think it’s just plain rude if you ask me. Thanks for writing this article and reminding us that doing this is considered bad body language.

Chanda Himanshu January 9, 2010 at 6:35 am

Hey Thanks Hulbert for the comment. Its great to know experiences from across the globe.

Jens P. Berget January 9, 2010 at 8:56 am

This is interesting.

Body language, and pointing the finger probably means different things in different cultures. It’s not disrespectful in Norway, but on the other hand it’s not something you should do :-)

Matej August 20, 2011 at 8:00 pm

THANKS for great insight.

Himanshu Chanda August 22, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Hi Matej. Thanks for taking time to provide your feedback. I appreciate.

sanjay November 25, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Great and agree.. i searched for finger pointing after having a quarrel due to finger pointing by my better half and found your article..i would like her to read it…Thanks.

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