Saturday, October 23, 2010

Negotiation Secret # 11 & 12: Netanyahu's Double-Dominance

Benjamin Netanyahu (L) Prime Minister of Israel exhibits a great example of a double-dominant style hand shake over Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R).  The first of these dominant advantages is that he's on the left from the audience's, the camera's and our point-of-view. This allows him to have his hand closer to the audience - being much more visible, and thus more dominant. The astute politician, CEO, etc. will always figure out a way to be on the left side side of the stage before the events begins. Netanyahu is simply better at playing chess.

In addition, Mr. Netanyahu has turned his hand so that it is on top. This is another dominant maneuver  and is a common move for alpha males. There are ways to counter this move, but Mr. Abbas, if he knew these, would have difficulty pulling them off -  because he's in the sitting position, he's shorter than Mr. Netanyahu (thus, so are his arms), and because he's reaching across Mrs. Clinton chest. Had I been coaching him, among other things, I would advised him to have shaken hands before sitting down. He has put himself in a position of weakness that could have been prevented. When you play chess, don't let the other guy take your queen before the match even starts - but you should endeavor to take his.