Faith WoodAs a handwriting analyst, I often speak to groups on the value of learning to interpret someone’s handwriting as a strategy for improving communications and reducing conflicts on teams.

After a recent event, several people indicated how impressed they were by the accuracy of the group analyses. Aside from being entertaining, one business man declared, “This is so me, how can you possibly have seen all this?”

Handwriting analysis is a bit of detective work. Analysts compare upstrokes and downstrokes in natural writing, looking for patterns and discrepancies. From the patterns, a good analyst can form a profile of the author’s personality traits.

You might wonder how valuable these insights are, given that we’re in an increasingly electronic era where it feels like no one writes. From emails to texts, we tend to communicate through emoticons and fonts, rather than with paper and pen. When you do have to write something, it’s usually scribbled in a kind of printed fashion.

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Although all of that’s true, writing isn’t going away. In fact, plenty of studies point to the need to bring cursive writing back into our schools.

Rest assured, from doodles to printing, a good analyst can gain insight into what makes you behave the way you do.

Printing, for example, is often a combination of printed and cursive script. When this combination shows up, it reveals a person with good ingenuity and problem-solving ability. Harmonious printing indicates a person who thinks in a building-block fashion and possesses self control and good organizational abilities. Inharmonious printing indicates a person who’s fragmented in their thinking and may have difficulty relating to others. These writers can be sharp and unfeeling in social interactions.

Since everyone is likely to still sign documents, contracts, applications, and more, regardless of technology, I thought I would share a few insights gleaned from looking at signatures.

Signatures are our personal brand or logo. We always want to show the world the very best side of us. That’s why we practise our signature more than any other writing activity – until we must sign multiple forms and our writing gets lazy.

So grab your signature (or someone else’s) and let me share a couple of insights.

High achievers often write their signature with a forward slope, which indicates a personality that’s warm, caring and outgoing.

When it comes to the size of a your signature, the rule of thumb is this: the bigger the signature, the more gregarious and outgoing the individual.

A smaller signature can be an indication that a person is miserly with money, emotions or self – an introvert or perhaps a bit unassuming.

Excessively large starting letters indicate someone who is deliberate about making first impressions a priority. If you look carefully at  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s signature, you might recognize a highly visual writer who is hyper-aware of how he is perceived by others. It more closely resembles that of a drama teacher (his former – some would say his current – profession) than a politician.

A straight signature reveals someone who tends to be balanced in their approach to life and work.

If someone signs with only their first name, it represents a strong sense of self. These people are independent in thought and very conscious of the money they earn.

Those who place one line below their signature are expressing a need to have others know they exist and make their presence felt. When two lines appear below the signature, the author loves to take credit and will ensure people know the favours he or she has done for them.

There’s a lot more that can be learned. These are just a few small insights that can be gleaned from a person’s signature.

But a word of caution: After you’ve gained an initial impression of a person based on a signature, don’t stop. Let that person’s actions continue to contribute to your mental picture of their overall character.

Troy Media columnist Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications. 

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