Thursday, June 30, 2011

Negotiation Secret # 119: What's Wrong with this Smile?

Most would agree Jillian Michaels is a beautiful woman who's in incredible shape. When it comes to her smile, however she makes a common mistake, albeit a largely subconscious one. Ms. Michaels' smile seen here is not a true, sincere smile - it is an example of one of many variations of what is known as a "Social (false) Smile".  True smiles, indicative of sincere joy, are difficult to make "on demand". Social smiles are certainly needed and can be thought of as a "social lubricant". Some social smiles are better than others though. Ms. Michaels over-tightens her mid-face here and subsequently her nostrils dilate. This appearance is amplified by her tilting her head back.  This bilateral nostril dilation, especially with a closed mouth "smile", conveys the emotion of disgust.  Amazingly, many people have this as their default "pretend (social) smile". While very few people could tell you her face is consistent with disgust, it will leave most everyone with a distinct cold feeling. This (and others) types of false smiles are distancing - not bonding. True smiles build rapport. Never pass up on an opportunity to build rapport. I am certain Jillian does not want to alienate others, do you? Are you doing so without realizing it?


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Leadership Secret # 222: Palms Down vs. Palms Up

The above photo of Angela Merkel is an obvious and major faux pas.  No leader, especially a national leader and particularly the leader of the German people should use this palm down, arm extended gesture.  The obvious images of Adolf Hitler it conjures up, creates an immediate and visceral fear response in nearly all who see it.  This aside, palms down gestures universally generate negative, patronizing and condescending feelings in the audience and all others who see the image.  Leaders are well advised to use the palms up gestures instead.  The palms up gesture spread feelings of openness, fostering and supportive attitudes while still being authoritative and conveying strong leadership.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Negotiation Secret # 126: Anxiety Like Beckham

Although we cannot say why, David Beckham is displaying apprehension and anxiety in this photo. His neck is bent forward and his head is classically turned away from the source/person/event of interest. He also displays a narrowed and lateral gaze.  Beckham's tight-lipped false smile is also very characteristic. Also notable in this anxiety cluster is his massaging of the back of his neck and  his entire width of his forehead is elevated. As you improve you body language skills, you should look for clusters of gestures - as the seven signs Mr. Beckham displays here. Doing so will dramatically improve your accuracy.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Leadership Secret # 112: Pakistan Trumps Iran

Here Pakistani President, Asif Ali Zandari holds hands with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran, Iran where there is a summit on fighting Terrorism.  While public displays of affection between people of opposite sex is taboo in many parts of the Middle East, even between married couples - people of the same gender holding hands is considered normal display of friendship without romantic implications.

Interestingly, the dominance rule of hand-holding still applies as it does with romantic couples.  Asif Ali Zandari's hand is in front - thus he is the dominant or "Alpha" and Ahmadinejad's is in back - acquiescing to the less-dominant, beta role.  This tells us that Pakistan has something(s) that Iran wants.

Another interesting "tell" is Zandari's left hand is on the right side of his chest. When one's hand is over their heart - which is, of course, on the left side of the chest - there is a much higher correlation with True sincerity. There is a significantly increased likelihood that Zandari is less than completely sincere at the moment of this photo. He may indeed be a sincere person in general, but at the moment of this photograph he was most probably "forcing" or "acting" sincere. 


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Negotiation Secret # 131:
When the eyes are "White and Wide"

This is French tennis player Marion Bartoli at the recent French Open. Notice the "Whites" of her eyes (sclera) are visible on the upper portions of each eye.  During most "normal" activity, about 2 to 3 millimeters of the tops of the iris/cornea are covered by the upper eyelids - from about 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock.  During activities of some extreme emotions, such as surprise and fear, the eyes display this "White and Wide" appearance. These emotional states are both accompanied by adrenaline rushes. Ms. Bartoli's adrenaline is elevated for another reason though - extreme athletic exertion. What are some other examples of this scleral show that we see every day - and should they be raising red flags?


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Negotiation Secret # 114: Subtle Emotion Test

This is a photo of the beautiful and talented Icelandic Actress, Anita Briem.  I have included a high resolution image of her upper face as a test.  What emotion is she feeling?  It is subtle but important. 

Most everyone can detect strong examples of emotional displays.  Very few people, even among accomplished professionals with presumed "people-skills" such as physicians, attorneys, clergy, teachers and politicians are able to detect modest, let alone subtle examples of facial displays of the universal emotions. I am continually amazed by the prevalence of this lack of ability to detect emotion in others. Many experts feel that this phenomenon is getting worse with less and less "face-time" and more and more emails, texting, tweeting, phone interactions, etc. Under stress, this skill drops off even more profoundly. Is Anita feeling happiness, sadness, fear, anger, contempt, disgust, or surprise? How should you respond if she were your client, your sister, your friend, your wife or your patient? Discount it, ignore it, or miss it altogether and you both will suffer.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Negotiation Secret # 140:
Duping Delight Microexpression

This is Chad O'Kelley's arrest photo. He was recently indited in federal court on selling U.S. Military arms to Iraqi citizens and businesses, money laundering and fraud. Mr. O'Kelley's expression is very telling.  While the left side of his mouth is, as expected, frowning - his right side shows a slight smile. Most people would expect a mug-shot to express negative emotions - often overwhelmingly negative. Why is Mr. O'Kelley showing a subtle smile?  It is very probable that Chad has a big secret that has not yet been discovered by the authorities. He feels that although he has just been arrested, somehow he is still fooling law enforcement. Paul Ekman has termed this subtle and often very fleeting and/or partial smile - "Duping Delight".  If this fraction of a smile is present for less than 0.5 seconds (and as little as 0.04 of a second!) it is known as a microexpression. This is just one example of many different emotions which are expressed in these clue-expressing, micro-bursts of display. While only about one in 300 people can see them naturally in real time - nearly everyone can be trained to see them. What secrets are slipping by you?

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2050: George Zimmerman's Interview on Fox -  Microexpression of Contempt and  Duping Delight

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2216:  Senator Jim DeMint's Body Language -  Lip Purse, Suppressed Smile, Duping Delight & Retiring Early

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2152:  Second Presidential Debate - 16 October 2012 -  Barack Obama's Duping Delight -  Benghazi, Libya Attack was an "Act of Terror" -  Alpha, Beta, Confidence & Acquiescence .... 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2188:  Paula Broadwell on Petraeus Relationship -  Body Language of Prolonged Blink,  Hard Swallow and More Duping Delight

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2093:  Ann Curry's Tearful Goodbye -  Matt Lauer's Classic "Tongue-in-Cheek" and Duplicitous Smile

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2187:  Paula Broadwell with Hearsay on Benghazi Attack -  Excerpt from University of Denver Speech and a Body Language form of "Duping Delight" ....

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2236:  John Boehner & the Fiscal Cliff Plan B Failure - Body Language of Duping Delight ....

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2182:  Jennifer Granholm & Newt Gingrich  the Day After the 2012 Election - Governor Granholm's Duping Delight and Suppressed Smile


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Leadership Secret # 99:
One gesture a leader should (almost) never make

This is Stephen Harper.  He is the current Prime Minister of Canada.  His hands are clasped in what some refer to as "Genital Guarding" or "The Fig-leaf" position. It is consistent with a low confidence emotional state and in some contexts, it can be a sign of deference or respect. With very few exceptions a head-of-state should never strike this pose. If perhaps he's/she's being photographed next to a major religious figure such as the Pope or the Dalai Lama, then it's okay, and even expected. When attending a funeral, or perhaps once he becomes a "Former Head of State" and he appears next to a current sitting president, prime minister - then it's also acceptable and not viewed as weak. Otherwise, he's projecting weakness where he should not be. When you're a leader or head of state, you must look the part.  Mr. Harper and others may be surprised to discover, that assuming such a pose will make one feel less confident - and the opposite is just as true.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Nonverbal Negotiation Secret # 121:
Mubarak, King Abdullah and Netanyahu

Hosni Mubarak is seen in here adjusting his cuff.  This image was taken at the White House during a Conference on Middle East peace on Sept. 1, 2010.  Needless to say this was before Egypt's recent revolution. His cuff-adjust is an example of a Manipulator/Adaptor/Pacifier (MAP). MAPs are signs of increased anxiety.  While we don't know exactly what President Obama was saying, we can be sure it caused Mubarak anxiety. More specifically, it's a signal to us that Mubarak's psyche was attempting to "amp-up" alpha behavior and be more assertive.

Interestingly, King Abdullah II of Jordan, seated next to Mubarak has a classic expression of disgust.  It would be very valuable if President Obama and his staff have photos and similar videos analyzed for non-verbal cues which may give them a distinct advantage. If not, they should. I wonder if King Abdullah is coached?  I doubt it - but he should. All political leaders should. Without it they will give away (and overlook) a gold-mine's worth of information. Body language can certainly be used to a similar dominance in the court room.

Test your skills:  What tell is Benjamin Netanyahu showing us?


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Negotiation Secret # 110: Signs of a Sociopath

What percentage of the population are sociopaths?  Most are amazed to discover that this figure is 4 % of the population - or about 1 in 25 people.  Sociopaths all lack a conscience and this usually begins to present in childhood. Another universal characteristic is that they lack empathy. They have is a strong prevalence of violence towards animals. They are often reckless and impulsive.  Sociopaths have an inflated sense of self-importance and often will engage in risky and reckless behavior. These are only some of their characteristics. 

Sociopaths are good to very good actors.  Interestingly, there are body language signs which they will have in common. Since they "parrot" behavior (e.g. "This is how I'm supposed to act when I'm happy", "This is how I'm supposed to act when I'm disappointed", etc.) they are only as good as their acting.  We give professional actors "permission" to pretend to be someone else, to pretend to be angry, disgusted, etc. - but not sociopaths - they are deliberately deceiving you for their personal gain.  Can you spot a bad actor?  Perhaps in a movie you don't like. But can you spot a good-to-very-good-sociopath actor? Are you about to hire one? Are you dating one? Are you sure?


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Negotiation Secret # 111: A Sure Red Flag of Insincerity

Insincerity is one of the most important "emotions"/characteristics to recognize.  We are all insincere from time to time (Does this outfit make my butt look big?).  But chronic insincerity is a warning sign, perhaps of pathology. Chronic insincerity eventually will harm those who are close to "it" and you would be well advised to avoided. I don't mean to suggest that John Edwards is chronically insincere, but most of us would say that those who partake in a longstanding extramarital affair are certainly insincere.

Mr. Edwards displays a beautiful contracture of the central forehead. Such a sign is often seen when there is physical or emotional pain.  In fact, if there is significant physical pain, this signal must be present.  When there is emotional pain, it can be present when oneself or other is in pain.  Emotional pain for others is an example of empathy.  BUT THERE IS A WARNING SIGN HERE.  Mr. Edwards displays a very slight smile in this image.  A smile is INconsistent with any kind of pain, emotional or physical. So when these two facial signals are present at the same time, they exist in contradiction - THERE IS INSINCERITY PRESENT.  Once again, it does not mean that the person as a whole is necessarily insincere, but in THAT MOMENT there is insincerity present. This combination of facial expressions is one of the surest signs of insincerity.  When you see it displayed, take note of how much the person makes this expression. If you see it often - avoid him/her - in business and in your personal life.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Negotiation Secret # 146: Anthony Weiner's Inward Lip Roll

Representative Anthony Weiner gives us a beautiful example of an inward lip roll.  With his texting scandal and in particular, the elicit photos which are at the center of the controversy, this sign is one of several to be expected. The inward lip roll is a sign of increased anxiety and stress. It often has a component of anger and/or effort-related stress - e.g. He's trying hard not to exhibit anger or embarrassment. The lips are an extremely sensitive tissue and touching one or both with the hand/fingers, tongue, teeth or with the other lip is an example of a manipulator/adaptor/pacifier.