Tag Archive for Spear Thrower

The Spear Throwing Pointer And Other Power Gestures

Pointing makes your message more poignant, but only because the receiver is being figuratively jabbed by your spear.

Pointing makes your message more poignant, but only because the receiver is being figuratively jabbed by your spear.

The pointer is akin to a spear thrower. Every time they thrust their finger forward it is as if they are jabbing their ideas into the kidneys of their audience. Alternately, the finger can be used rhythmically in an up and down motion seemingly beating down upon their opponent trying to create submission. The finger pointer makes his appearance during aggressive verbal fights where the accuser is making strong personal attacks against the other. Very negative emotions are attached to such actions so it’s best to avoid this gesturing. Finger pointing puts the reflection and responsibility onto the listener, and for this reason, they attach negative connotations to the speaker. It creates defensive feelings in the listener and as it persists these defensive feelings grow into aggression. Parents will often use the pointing finger to scold children but adults will be far less tolerant of other’s authority especially those of equal status so it is unwise to exercise this gesture with abandon. Even more pronounced than the finger spear is the hammer fist where the hand is made into a ball serving to repeatedly “hammer” the speech into the listeners. The hammer fist shows conviction and determination, where neither might be present. When the fingers are curled lightly not quite making a fist, the intent is to show mild power and a desire to be taken seriously but lacking the conviction found in the hammer fist.

This gesture comes across less threatening and is more suited to making a point to an audience.

The “politicians gesture” comes across less threatening, and is more suited to making a point to an audience.

An alternate, and abbreviated form of the pointing figure, is the thumb in hand gesture where the thumb lies against the index finger and where the remaining fingers form a ball. The hand then motions as if pointing, and in a rhythmic motion, emphasize points with conviction. The thumb in hand gestures is the “politicians gesture” since it is frequently used by various Presidents and world leaders. The thumb in hand gesture is much less offensive than the pointing finger, but can appear smug when done by those of lower status. Speakers might also use the “OK” gesture which is done by placing the thumb against the index finger forming an opening with the remaining fingers flared out.
The thumb in hand and the OK signal are considered to be more thought provoking and honest than finger pointing and takes the responsibility back from the listeners and places it back on the speech. The OK signal rotated so the fingers face the audience, with the thumb inward, is used when we want to show precision and delicacy. Without being careful with the OK gesture it can appear as uncertainty as is the case when the thumb and index finger come close, but don’t quite touch. In this case, the gesture is more useful when posing questions rather than making statements.

Additional gestures:

______________________________________________________________________________________________

It was this big!

It was this big!

[A] The measurer. The hands are moved parallel to one another and juggled up and down as if measuring an object. This signals a desire to project thoughts onto others.

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Accepting the audience.

Accepting the audience.

[B] The finger spreader. The hands are held out and finger splayed apart facing palm to the audience. This is an attempt to make contact with the entire audience.

 

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________

The "offerer" wants to give you his thoughts and just doesn't understand your point of view.

The “offerer” wants to give you his thoughts and just doesn’t understand your point of view.

[C] The offered. The hands are palm up as if giving a gift. This is a beggar’s plea where agreement is desperately sought from the audience.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Connecting with the audience.

Accept me as I accept you.

[D] The hugger. The arms are made into a circle in front of the body with the palms facing inward toward the speaker. The speaker wishes for the audience to accept his way of thinking or in other cases, the speaker is trying to grasp his own hypothesis.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

[E] The traffic cop. The hands are placed palm up in a stop motion. The speaker wishes the audience to settle or calm so they can continue.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Verbal Language Is Confusing, Body Language Sorts Things Out

Body language makes the intent of a message much more clear.  This 'spear thrower' isn't interested in listening to your viewpoint.

Body language makes the intent of a message much more clear. This ‘spear thrower’ isn’t interested in listening to your viewpoint.

What proportion of communication is affected by the actual words versus how the words are used and the body language that it accompanies it? I don’t know of any real metric by which to calculate this, so it’s really anyone’s guess. Suffice it to say that the vast majority of communication and meaning has nothing at all to do with words. Body language in this case gets lumped in together with other signals such as tone, pitch and word emphasis whilst we subtract the actual words and their meaning. Take the phrase “Would you prefer to lie?” as an example. If I were to emphasize the word “would” it puts the emphasis on “you”, but if I put the emphasis on “lie” it puts emphasis on the action. Confusing things further and not privy to the spelling of “lie”, one wouldn’t know if I was speaking about telling the truth or “lying”, or taking a nap or “laying”. Emphasis is used to add meaning and emotion to our speech by stressing specific words and can completely change the meaning of the sentence. This can also be done by using a higher tone, using longer stressed syllables, or increasing the volume as we speak certain words. Even in the cases above I have used a nonverbal method to emphasis words by using the italics function, a feature of this writing program that arose out of necessity.

Going back to our previous example, we also have homonym’s which are words that share the same spelling and same pronunciation but have different meanings. An example includes the word “bow” which can mean to bend forward, the front of a ship, a weapon which fires an arrow, a ribbon tied in a knot (a bow tie) or to bend outward to the sides (bow-legged). Polysemes are words or phrases with multiple related meanings. For example “bank” can describe a financial institution that handles money or it can be used to describe trust as in “We’re friends, you can bank on me.” Antagonym’s are forms of slang that actually mean their opposite. Examples of antagonyms include “bound” for a direction or heading, or tied up and unable to move, cleave can be to cut apart or seal together, buckle can mean to hold together or to collapse, clip means to attach or cut off, and so on. Other time we use words to mean the opposites. “That skateboard trick was sick” comes across in slang as meaning that it was actually a pretty good trick.

While the myriad of definitions stemming from word-use might confuse you, don’t let it bother you too much because this is the only time it actually matters. In fact, body language is the likely reason our vocabulary is permitted to be so confusing and most of us have at least a rudimentary understanding about how our bodies and verbal language coincide to produce meaning anyway. The point of raising the dysfunction that peppers verbal language is precisely because confusing word meaning plays such a minor role in our lives. When we just don’t get it, in comes body language to sort things out and bring everyone back on to the same page.

What we are looking to accomplish in this book is a higher order reading of nonverbal language to graduate from simple word meaning to get at the hidden ‘script’ that unfolds ‘between the lines’, so to speak!

Please Log In


Username
Create an Account!
Password
Forgot Password? (close)

Get Free Content


Username
Email
Password
Confirm Password
Want to Login? (close)

Forgot Password? Resend


Username or Email
(close)