Body Language – Steepling

Posted: March 22, 2010 in Mentalism

Its been a while since I’ve discussed body language on this blog, so I thought it’d be a good idea to talk about the “steepling” move. This move is done to show confidence. Steepling is shown when someone brings their hands up and puts their fingers together (as shown in the picture to the left) this expresses that a person is confident about something. They may show this whilst in an important meeting when they become confident about the offer you’re offering. Or perhaps you’re being interviewed for a job and you see the interviewer make this move, this can tell you that things are going well, and that they’re confident you could do the job right.

You can use the knowledge of this technique to win a game of chess. Picture the scene – You’re playing chess and its your turn to move. You move your hand over the chess board and touch a piece and then your opponent makes the steepling gesture, this will tell you that your opponent is confident about the move you’re about to make, so it’ll probably be best to go a different way and make a different move. You may also see this happen in a game of cards, if someone is making the steepling gesture then they probably have a good hand.

However, despite the steeple usually being a positive gesture it can be a negative one which is why you have to look at other gestures to go with it. If the steeple is used following a range of positive gestures such as nodding of the head, open palms, leaning forward and so on, then chances are it’ll be a positive one.

If the steeple is followed by negative gestures such as shaking of the head, leaning back in the chair and closed palms, then chances are it’ll be a negative gesture. However this only really applies to the interview side of things. When a steeple gesture is shown in a game of cards or a chess game as described above, then its usually a positive gesture showing confidence.

  1. Kokomo Island says:

    Well, I have a crush on a former associate. I went to ask him for advice and I couldn’t help but shake and look deep into his eyes with passion. He made the steepling gesture with his palms touching each other like in namaste. What was he thinking about? How was he responding to my body language? What was he really saying with his sort of steepling gesture?

  2. […] Work toward authentic body language by laying off of the phony tricks like steepling. […]

  3. […] we have trainers who coach executives in body language… advising them to use steepling at board meetings, to maintain eye contact when selling, to uncross arms when wanting to appear […]

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