8 Important Hand Signals Each of Us Should Know

3 years ago

Getting rescued just by using your hands, leaving a discrete message about violent abuse, or using gestures when driving or riding a bike that could help you avoid an accident. There’s no doubt that hand signals can be a powerful communication tool. In fact, studies have shown that our gestures can reflect our thoughts, can help other people understand us better, and can even replace the need to talk.

To help you use this often underused tool we at Bright Side have selected the most important hand signals that could help you on a daily basis or in an emergency, with a useful hand signal for anxiety as a bonus at the end.

1. Hand signal for help

If you happen to be alone and in need of rescue, one simple hand gesture could save you some time: wave both arms up and down. This way any helicopter or airplane will immediately know you need help. If you only wave one hand, it can be confused with a “hello” sign.

2. Hand signal for domestic violence

Sometimes it’s not possible to send a verbal message that you’re feeling threatened by your partner. In this case, the Violence at Home Signal for Help is the best option. Just hold your hand up with your thumb tucked into your palm and then fold your fingers down. You can show this signal when talking to someone in person or via a video call.

3. Hand signal to stop

The hand signal to stop is important when you’re driving a car or riding a bicycle in the city. When starting to slow down, stick your arm out beside you and turn your hand toward the ground. This way, the person behind you will know that you’re going to stop and will slow down as well.

4. Hand signal to turn

This tip is also for drivers and bikers. If your lights go out, you can also indicate that you’re changing lanes or turning by sticking your arm out. If you’re turning left, leave your arm straight. If you’re turning right, fold your arm and point your hand toward the sky.

5. Hand signal to agree

If you’re talking to someone via video or if you’re a teacher handling an online class, the agreement hand signal can be useful. To not interrupt what the other one is saying, just agree by letting your pinky finger and your thumb stick out, with the palm of your hand toward the person who is talking.

6. Hand signal in speeches

When giving a presentation, what you do with your hands is as important as what you’re saying. To build trust right away and to put your audience at ease, open your hands with the palms facing upward. This gesture usually has a positive effect on people.

7. Hand signal to help a deaf person

When seeing someone lost or in distress and they happen to be deaf, you can ask if the person needs something by making the sign for “help.” Close your left hand with your thumb sticking out and pointing up. Place it above your right outstretched palm and raise both hands in front of your chest.

8. Hand signal in a job interview

We have to showcase our best selves in a job interview, and this can be very stressful. To help to indicate superiority and confidence, use the steeple fingers while listening to your interviewer. Just put your palms facing each other, with your fingertips touching and pointing upward.

Bonus: Hand gesture for anxiety

Feeling anxious can easily ruin your day. But if you’re having an anxiety rush, try to close your fingers from both hands, and touch the tip of your 2 thumbs together. This is a yoga hand gesture that is known for calming you down and finding serenity.

What other hand gestures do you know of that can be useful to others?

Preview photo credit shutterstock.com


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thanks for sharing those. Even if I don't need to use them, it will be helpful to know if someone else needs help or tries to send a hidden signal


I saw this domestic violence sign across the internet but never knew what it could mean


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