One of the best hand gestures to use in business meetings is the palm-up cue. Around the globe, palm-up speaking gestures make an emotional appeal for listener support, cooperation, and understanding. Palm-up is a universal gesture made with the fingers extended and the hand rotated to an upward (or supinated) position parallel to the ceiling. The uplifted, opened palm is held out as an appealing or imploring gesture suggesting a vulnerable side, a non-aggressive stance appealing to listeners as allies rather than as rivals or foes.
Throughout the world palm-up gestures reflect moods of accommodation, congeniality, and humility. Accompanied by palm-showing cues your ideas, opinions, and remarks seem more conciliatory than assertive, aggressive, or pointed. Held out to an opponent across a conference table, the proffered palm may, like an olive branch, enlist support as an emblem of peace.
Palm-up cues are culturally universal and rooted in our basically primate nature. According to zoologist Frans de Waal, they're used by our close cousins, the chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), to beg for food and settle disputes. All a chimp need do to make amends is proffer an upraised palm. Extending an open hand held in upward position means the same in the office as it does in the bush: "I mean you no harm."