Monday, October 31, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 595:
Anxiety plus Defensiveness

Penelope Cruz is a very accomplished actress. She is only human though. Here she is displaying a very common sign of anxiety - scratching the neck with the opposite hand. If she were using her right hand here, it would still indicate anxiety, however in using the opposite hand, the arm acts as a temporary block. This additional nonverbal maneuver is indicative of a lower confidence & a defensive emotional tone.


Negotiation Secret # 705:
Two Signals No Candidate Wants to Project

Herman Cain is projecting two Body Language signals no candidate should ever exhibit in this photo. His hands are oriented in what is know as a "Steeple". If displayed for short time periods, in the proper contexts, this can project confidence. However, in most settings, particularly when used for all but brief displays, it is often perceived as arrogance and projects (no doubt unbeknown to Mr. Cain) condescending attitudes. The higher the steeple, the stronger this emotional signal is transmitted and received. 

Herman also is displaying an "Inward Lip-Roll" (ILR). Positioning your lips in this fashion is a nonverbal indication of anger-related-anxiety and when it is displayed the person is calling upon inward reserves - for patience. When you see the ILR, patience is wearing thin - tread softly. 


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 519:
Fear in the Candle Light

In this image, you can see some mild to moderate fear expressed in the woman's face on the right. Along with many other migrant workers, she attended a candlelight vigil demonstration in Hong Kong. Their goal was equality and respect. Notice her mouth - it is subtly drawn laterally (towards her ears). Her jaw is slightly dropped and the bottom teeth are exposed while the top teeth are not visible. Her eyelids, while they certainly could be opened wider, are opened wider than normal. Note the eyebrows too - they are raised and subtly drawn together. All these signals together signify a nonverbal beacon of fear - perhaps a 3.5 to 4.0 (on a 0.0 to 10.0 scale). Virtually anyone can recognize extreme fear. But it should be your goal to also recognize moderate, mild and indeed subtle degrees of any emotion. You would be very surprised at the percentage of otherwise educated and accomplished adults who cannot identify this or other less extreme emotional signals.


Negotiation Secret # 315:
Jaw Jut - Heightened Potential for Violence

The Man on the right side of this photo (with the white handkerchief on his neck) is exhibiting a classic signal of anger: a Jaw Jut - where the jaw is extended out further than it otherwise would protrude. The amount of jutting tends to be proportional with the anger and can be a predictor of violence. Sometimes the lower teeth may extend out further than the upper ones. Jaw jutting tends to more common just prior and during offensive violence, rather than a defensive physical act. If seen, chances of an assault, battery or other physical violence are significantly heightened. This very often, but not always coexists with clenched teeth. Everyone can spot these signals here because it's an extreme example captured in a still image - for us to scrutinize at our leisure. But in the everyday, anger is often less extreme and the body language is more fleeting. Subterfuge often follows. How many times have you missed this nonverbal signal today?


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Negotiation Secret # 379: Dominant Handshake Tendencies

This is a cropped, close-up of U.S. President Obama shaking the prosthetic hand of Medal-of-Honor recipient  U.S. Army Sargent 1st Class Leroy Petry. Sargent Petry's prosthetic hand is almost vertically oriented. His ability to position the angle of his hand is obviously significantly limited. Despite this, President Obama still orients his hand in a more dominant, 45 degree, palm-down position. An alpha personality, particularly a president or head-of-state is very accustomed to being "The most important Alpha in the Room". Here is one occasion where he should acquiesce. 

Do you know how Nonverbally counter the dominant palm-down handshake?


Romance, Marriage and Dating Body Language Secret # 424:
'Til Death Do Us Part....Fossilized Love

Here's some Halloween-esque Body Language:

These two skeletons of a man and woman were found about 25 miles South of Verona, Italy - the town of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet". Archaeologists stated that they were also young when they died - as they had all of their teeth intact. They date from about five to six thousand years ago - the late Neolithic Period. Double burials were extremely unusual during this time. The finding is reminiscent of poses from the ruins of Pompeii - because they show us behavior and even emotion frozen in time. Fossils of Love, and dead for eons - these lovers still demonstrate nonverbal communication to us. They are looking into each others' eyes, embracing, and the skeleton on the left is even caressing the face of their lover.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 741: Pencil in Mouth

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is shown here during the Greek debt crisis negotiations holding a pencil to her mouth. This is a classic nonverbal signal of true contemplation and the need for more information (Nierenberg and Calero). Depending on the other Body Language signs it is clustered with, it may also be indicative of stalling for time. Often a pen or pencil is used as a surrogate for a finger or thumb. This is a form of what is known as a Manipulator, Adaptor or Pacifier (MAP) and is correlated with increased anxiety.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 712:
We are Born with the Desire for Eye Contact

Eye Contact is normal. Eye contact is natural. Newborns have a strong desire to gaze into others' eyes. Why do so many adults who have otherwise fairly good interpersonal communication skills "unlearn" this fundamentally indispensable nonverbal staple? A normal and healthy amount of eye contact should between 30 and 70 percent of the time. Try your best to keep it closer to 70 percent if you want to enjoy good rapport and bonding.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 593:
When Disparity exists between Face and Hands -
What to Believe?

When you see contradictory Body Language signals - how should this influence your interpretation? Here, Texas Governor Rick Perry gives us the "Thumbs Up" - which in the many countries and his native U.S. is a universal gesture of optimism during the recent CNN Western Republican Presidential Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada. His face however, belies his real feelings (at this moment). His mid and lower face are significantly tightened. Specifically, his lips are thinned and stretched laterally (a signal of anger) while also displaying a slight inward lip roll (anxiety-anger and actively focusing on controlling this). Perry's mouth/lip signs are being subconsciously controlled, while his thumb display is quite conscious. Certainly, debating in a nationally televised political event with worthy opponents is no easy task. I don't know where any politician gets their thick skins; but obviously these nonverbal signals are not congruent. The subconsciously dictated behavior always reflect the person's true emotional state in real-time. Thus, it is extremely difficult to fake one emotion when you truly feel another.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Negotiation Secret # 702: The Dominant Spider

This is a classic display of what I call "The Dominant Spider". Palm down gestures are always taken as dominant and overtly authoritative. Audiences receive them considerably more negatively versus palms up displays - even with an audience of one (Pease). Although gesturing with your palms down is not as negative as pointing - it should, in most cases, be avoided. This display of The Dominant Spider by the late Libyan Dictator, Muammar Gaddafi (Moammar Gadhafi) - while a bit more subtle than Khrushchev banging his shoe, is an example of a gesture I will coach-out of most people.


Negotiation Secret # 387:
Missy Franklin's Surprise and Disbelief

Here, Colorado teenager Missy Franklin, is shown at the 2011 FINA Swimming World Cup Championships in Berlin, Germany just after she set a World Record in the 200 Meter Backstroke (short course). Her eyelids are opened widely here (and in the split second prior to this, they were  opened even more so) compared to a normal resting state. This is highly consistent with the emotion of surprise. Covering of the mouth conveys a disbelief when witnessing or hearing of something extreme. It can coexist with and can be a signal for - the momentary difficulty of emotionally processing such extreme events. It may also, of course, be seen in a negative context, and was a very common body language sign seen displayed during the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Romance, Marriage and Dating Body Language Secret #737:
Cuddling with your Feet

When you cuddle - do your feet touch your lover's feet? If there's true love and affection, the answer should be yes. One of the greatest Body Language signals of intimacy - is being emotionally and physically comfortable with our lover touching our feet. When a relationship begins and subsequently progresses to greater levels of affection, it's one of the last that places we'll permit another to touch. Conversely, when the feet begin to drift apart - although it doesn't necessarily mean an impending break-up - it is a signal of a rift developing in the relationship and that repair is in need.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Negotiation Secret # 389: Muammar's Constant Contempt

Mummar (Moammar) Gadhafi's (Gaddafi's) face was virtually always in a state of Contempt. Contempt is a very specific emotional state wherein you place yourself above another person or group of people. More than almost any public figure - Gadhafi's face and mind were locked in this emotion. In this image, you can see a moderate example (perhaps a 4, on a 1-to-10 scale) of contempt. Mild mid-face tightening is easily visible and very subtle nostril dilation is present. What is more obvious though - and classic for contempt - is the unilateral lip-mouth elevation, which incredible as it may seem, is often mistaken for a subtle smile. An alarm should always go off when you see a "one-sided smile" - for it is never sincere. What many people miss is Gadhafi's head retraction - a pulling back of his head - which gives this "triple chin appearance" (it certainly may be less obvious than this however). Gadhafi's eyebrows are also pulled inward and down - a manifestation of contempt's common co-conspirator - anger.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Body Language Negotiation Secret # 390:
True Surprise or False Surprise?

In this brief video clip of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (forgive the poor sound quality) getting the "news" on her Blackberry that Moamar Gadhafi has been captured (now verified that he has been killed), she is not in fact surprised - although her words ("Wow"...etc.) suggest this emotion. Despite a person blocking some of our view of her initial reaction we get a pretty good visual. Had she been truly surprised, Hillary's eyes would have opened widely for a second or two. Another sign of sincere surprise (also absent here) is the mouth/jaw opens widely and the lips will form a round or oval shape. True surprise is the briefest of all emotions and is very often immediately followed by another emotion - most commonly - laughter/joy, anger, embarrassment, or fear. Mrs. Clinton has a pretty good poker face, but the fact that her surprise wasn't sincere and there was not another emotion immediately following this feigned surprise - suggests strongly that this was not her initial information today regarding the former dictator (no big news here). There is a brief smile seen (also feigned), but it is several seconds later.

Very intriguingly, her double hand adjustment of the front portion of her jacket in this context is a nonverbal signal akin to a "period and exclamation point" or "take that Moamar!"


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 335:
What does "Eye Contact" really mean?

When it comes to Body Language/Nonverbal Communication, people often ask, "Does eye contact mean I have to look the other person directly in the eye all the time?" (or some variation thereof). The short answer to this is definitely "NO". Here's the long answer: If you look directly into one eye - or switch back and forth between eyes, this is too intense and is almost always is interpreted (depending on the other signals and context) as either predatory, anger, sexual attraction or deception (lie detection). But take heed - liars may also go the complete opposite route and totally avoid eye contact though. 

So if you're feeling none of the above emotions and you're participating in healthy conversation, "eye contact" should effectively mean looking semi-randomly around the area outlined above on the lovely Keira Knightley's face. I say "semi-randomly, because you gaze should briefly fixate on one of their eyes and then very quickly (and very briefly) fixate on some other portion of their face within this ellipse - and then return to the same or opposite eye. All this time you never want to fixate on one area too long or too intently. We all behave this naturally when we have good rapport during natural conversation. 

Having defined "eye contact" as sometimes not looking at the eyes, but close to them - may seem contradictory, but this is what we do during healthy conversation. We should have eye contact (as defined above) between 40 and 70 percent of the time during conversation - and closer to 70 percent if we want to gain or maintain superior rapport.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Negotiation Secret # 779: Classic Incredulous Cluster

Bollywood actress, Pranitha (aka Praneetha) gives us a great incredulous cluster here. Her head is not turned toward the subject of interest (ergo disinterest). We don't look directly at those we don't like, don't respect or don't believe. Her raised eyebrows and wrinkled forehead along with an asymmetric-slight smile - completes this classic tetrad cluster of disbelief. Her asymmetric smile and mild nasal flaring together are displaying a beacon of contempt, which of course, often co-exists with skepticism. When interpreting Body Language, it is important to see three or more signals of congruence in order to be sure of another's true emotion state.


Negotiation Secret # 337: Facial Hair, Trust and Politics

When was the last time a U.S. President was elected with any facial hair? Any guesses? William Howard Taft in 1908. What percentage of current U.S. Senators have any facial hair? Only one Senator sports any - John Hoeven (R) from North Dakota. Excluding the seventeen women senators, this is about 1.2 percent. How about U.S. State Governors? Only three of the forty-four males (we currently have six female governors) have facial hair - so about 6.8 percent. How about the U.S. House of Representatives? Thirty-nine of the 361 male members of the current U.S. House have any beard, mustache, etc. - this is 10.8 percent. The higher the political office, the less the American voter tolerates facial hair. Why?

Currently about 33 percent of American males have facial hair. World wide the statistics are about 50 percent. All things being equal, we tend to trust people more when they are clean shaved. This is a statistical but very real phenomenon. Remember - statistics predict the behavior of large numbers - not individuals. It's also true and very intriguing that the arrest photographs ("mug shots") of men wearing any facial hair are significantly above the U.S. national average. Pre-verbal children even prefer men who are clean shaved than those with facial hair. 

The political-electability trend has been true for more than a century. Although among the general population, the popularity of facial hair will wax (no pun intended) and wane somewhat - elected officials will continue to pick up their razors. In the United States at least, a man is much more "electable" if he has no facial hair. This is an indirect but very powerful metric of trust. While Herman Cain may be a good candidate - he's being extremely nonobjective and very naive if he doesn't shave his Herman - you can't ignore statistics and the trends as dramatic as those presented in the above paragraphs. Check 'em out yourself.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Negotiation Secret # 441:
The Political Point - How Not to Use It

Herman Cain has recently enjoyed a tremendous boost in the polls. Some even have him on top as the current Republican favorite for the U.S. 2012 Presidential election. In the last decade or so, one Body Language gesture that a lot of political candidates have begun to use is the "Political or Politician's Point". This is where the "okay" sign (the index finger and thumb touching to form an oval-shape) is used as opposed to traditional pointing with the just the index finger extended and the rest of the hand in a fist/near fist. The traditional index finger point is very negatively received in the vast majority of cultures and should be strongly avoided. People interpret the finger point as a strong sign of arrogance and will feel patronized.

Mr. Cain isn't pulling off the "politician's point" though. The remaining three fingers should not be closed in a near-fist as Herman is doing here, rather they should be loose. He is also pinching with the index finger and thumb. Properly done, the connection of these two digits should also be relaxed - forming an approximate oval, rather than a pinched off tear-drop shape. This semi-fist and pinching are signals of emotional tension.

What the hands are doing - influences the face. Emotional tension in the hand(s) will cause and/or correlate with negative facial expressions. Herman Cain's face is clearly displaying contempt. Contempt does not engender the heart's of the electorate. Contempt will lose votes. It is indeed a rare situation where a candidate should display contempt. If Mr. Cain, and the rest of us, relax our hands, our faces will relax (and vice versa). Look for emotional clues in one and you will find them in the other.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Negotiation Secret # 555:
How Facial Expressions Correlate with Palm Position

These two photos of Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi are fantastic examples of how the orientation of our palms are very strongly correlated with our facial expressions. Palms down, in general, should be avoided. Most of the time, the majority of audience members (even with an audience of one!) will feel patronized and that the speaker is arrogant. Alpha personalities who go too extreme will conspicuously over-use the palms down signal. Notice how Berlusconi's face matches this - he is displaying smug/contempt. If you're a teacher, professor or trainer - the learning/retention will also be significantly reduced (B. & A. Pease).

When palms are pointed up, the face again matches. There is a very strong tendency towards a more beta personality with a softer/reconciliation/asking/kinder face. The examples shown here are very demonstrative and typical of everyday people and situations. Watch carefully for these hand-face correlations in your personal life and at work. It will allow you to read between the lines and inside their minds with great accuracy and tremendous benefit.

Berlusconi faces ongoing charges of corruption, bribery and paying and underage girl (Karima El Mahroug) for sex (See Negotiating Secret #89: Opposite Facing Arms Akimbo).


Lie Detection Secret # 652:
Megan Fox has got an Itch - Not!

When we have a momentary rise in our anxiety level, in an extremely high percentage of the time portions of our head and/or neck will itch. This is not imaginary - they truly itch. There are probably several reasons for this that have not to date, been fully elicited - however one of these is a simple rise in blood pressure. The blood vessels will press on surrounding tissue - which of course contains nerve endings and this pressure leads to pruritus. When a lie is told (or heard) we tend to experience this itching/swelling in some areas more than others. The nose is particularly prone to this phenomenon. Another region is just above the lip and below the nose - in the "mustache area". So when we tell a lie, we scratch the nose and above the upper lip particularly often. Part of this particular gesture is "vestigial behavior" from childhood - when the mouth is immediately covered once a lie is told. We partially, but never completely "unlearn" this response as we grow older. Here, the lovely Megan Fox is shown in this highly characteristic Body Language maneuver.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Negotiation Secret # 704:
False Mastication and
Contraction of the Central Forehead

This is Raj Rajaratnam. He is founder of the hedge fund management firm, the Gallon Group. Earlier this year he was found guilty on all 14 counts of securities and conspiracy fraud. Today he was sentenced to 14 years in prison. In this photo he is chewing on the inside of his right cheek. In Body Language lingo this is termed "false Mastication" since there is no food in the mouth. It is a strong signal of anxiety. In addition, his central forehead is mildly contracted. When the peripheral forehead is relaxed and the medial (aka central) forehead is contracted - think "pain" - either emotional or physical pain and either experienced directly or via empathy for another person, group or animal 

If you should see false mastication in the context of a conversation, there is a high likelihood that the anxiety is deception-related.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Body Language Secret # 619:
Head and Neck Contact with Love and Affection

There are several things you should see during a hug when true love and affection are felt (see also Body Language Secret # 105: Parental Love and Affection). One of these is a touching of the heads and necks accompanied by a bending of the necks. It's as if you're trying to get the maximum surface area possible in contact with the other person. This is true between parent and a child as well in romantic adult relationships. The persistent absence of this highly characteristic Body Language signal is particularly worrisome.


Negotiation Secret # 559: Pointing at a Witness

This is J. Michael Flanagan, the defense attorney for Dr. Conrad Murray. Murray is on trial for involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson. Flanagan is a skilled and experienced attorney, but in many cases, I would disagree with his gesture of pointing at a witness (in this case Dr. Thao Nguyen, Cardiologist). In particular, I would steer him away from pointing with his index finger (forefinger). While this body language may certainly make the witness squirm and feel uncomfortable - and this may work to his advantage, he should weigh this against how the jury may feel. Pointing is considered a significant insult in nearly every culture and country around the World. If any jury member has empathy for the witness being questioned, she/he will feel as if they are being pointed at, chastised, and thus falsely persecuted along with the witness. Got empathy? Your jury does.

A better way to point would be with the whole hand, palm up. The fingers and arm should both be extended (but not fully extended, some flexing to the shoulder, elbow and fingers should be displayed) but relaxed. 


Monday, October 10, 2011

Body Language Secret # 702:
Mouth of Fear,
trying to Smile and
Forehead of Pain

Blake Lively has got one of the best "Social Smiles" in Hollywood. That is, her "acted smiles" in social/interview/public appearance settings - most of the time comes pretty close to resembling a "Sincere, Felt Smile". Very few people - even actors/actresses can truly pull this off. That's one reason why this particular image is a great example here. Her mouth shows a trace amount of fear - not the typical type of fear though. She's trying to smile, but she can't in this particular moment. Her bottom teeth are showing and they shouldn't be with a sincere smile, but it is a characteristic of fear. In this case, it's an empathy-embarrassment-apology type of fear. The kind of fear where she has just delivered some bad news or she has to back out of a commitment, etc. It's not danger-fear, but it is a type of fear. One signal that it's not a classic fear is that her eyes are not opened wider than normal (e.g., with "whites of the eyes" showing above the irises/irides - not just on the sides of the eyes) in fact her lids are a bit more closed.

Blake's central eyebrows are also elevated. Another sign that goes along with this - is her central forehead being contracted. This is a classic signal of pain, either physical or emotional pain and either directly felt or experienced through empathy.

This whole smorgasbord of signals  is what is known as a gesture cluster, when several body language signs are seen simultaneously or nearly so - like words in a sentence - they take on a specific meaning. So, in summary, when you see this mild "yikes" type of expression displayed by the mouth, the eyes closed slightly, the central eyebrows raised and the central forehead wrinkled - you know that she/he is about to deliver some news that they know you don't want to hear (and they fear speaking it). You may very well see this beacon several minutes before the news is spoken - which will give you time to mentally and emotionally prepare. Your own body language, tone and words will then work to your advantage. Our overly emotional response to bad news is a common flaw that many share and a few seconds warning is priceless.

See also:

Secret # 133: Surprise or Smile or Neither?

Analysis # 2: Body Language of Blake Lively and Penn Badgley Strongly Suggests an Impending Break-up in Near Future

Nonverbal Communication Secret # 2091: Sincere Smiling (a la' Blake Lively) and Laughing Reduces Anxiety and  Heart Rate, Boosts Immune System and Relieves Pain

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2203: A Body Language Metric of Intimacy and Affection -  How Do YOU cuddle?


Negotiation Secret # 405: Carli Bruni & Dagger Eyes

This is the President of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, and his actress-model-singer-song writer wife, Carla Bruni. We've all heard the expression, "If looks could kill", or "She is Shooting Daggers" at him, etc. Here Ms. Bruni is giving us a subtle to moderate example of "Dagger Eyes". Her eyes are opened wider than her non-angry eyes would be and her brows are also elevated. Her lips are stretched/thinned and her mid-face is subtly tightened as well. Ms. Bruni's nostrils are clearly slightly dilated too. All of these are consistent in with anger. 

Most everyone people can spot Body Language signals when they are exhibited in their extreme or nearly so, but I am uterly amazed at the number of educated, skilled and otherwise socially adept professionals who will continuously miss moderate, let alone subtle examples of Body Language. They are truly missing a gold mine of information, for it is in the detection and understanding of these milder examples that you will give yourself a profound advantage. 

Another similarly related issue is the brevity of many Nonverbal signals. Since this is a still image, and not a video - it's impossible to say how long Carla displayed this look. It may very well have been an example of a "Microexpression". Microexpressions are exceedingly common and by definition are very evanescent - as brief as 0.04 of a second. One of the reasons for this is that they are initiated by our subconscious - before our consciousness is even aware of our feelings. While about 1 in 300 people detect these microexpressions naturally, virtually everyone can be trained to recognize them.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Negotiation Secret #593: Projecting and Detecting Confidence

Projecting confidence through Body Language is a incredibly valuable life and business skill. This photo is obviously posed for the new film "Ides of Mach". Left to right are Marisa Tomei, George Clooney, Evan Rachel Wood and Ryan Gosling. Let's forget for a moment that this is a promotional photo and pretend it's "real world". Contrasting the two males, who projects the most confidence? Mr. Clooney does and here's why:  His upper body is aligned toward the camera while his lower body is slightly turned. While the seated male crotch display is often a dramatic turn off to nearby women (especially in a business setting, but even in personal life; see Negotiation Secret # 401: Male Dominance Display - Faux pas), George is not overdoing it here - a moderate stance is achieved. He's projecting confidence and possibly attraction to Ms. Wood. George's unilateral left arm akimbo is another good example of some confidence/dominance while not overdoing it with his right arm as well. How much confidence display is too much? Just ask Clooney. He's confident without being a narcissist.

Ryan Gosling on the other hand is sitting with his knees much closer together and his feet are probably almost touching (If his knees were any closer, it would be considered by most to be a bit effeminate. Again, this is a promotional photo - Gosling's being told how to pose - or how to ill-pose). Moreover, his hands are crossed in a variation of the seated "fig-leaf" - this too projects low confidence. He's is the only one whose body is not pointed at the camera as well. Gosling is clearly acquiescing to the Beta male position in this group, while Clooney is the clear Alpha.

Even Clooney's and Gosling's leather jackets demonstrate the Alpha-Beta contrast. In study after study, men are always rated much higher when dressed in black (or navy blue if we were also including sport coats/suits) vs. lighter colors. This is true in professional as well as personal life. The best example I can site here is the Nixon-Kennedy Debates (see "A Watershed Body Language Moment: Nixon - Kennedy Debates, 1960) Kennedy wore a dark navy suit which contrasted well against the background of the stage, while Nixon wore a significantly lighter color and blended into the background. Thus their clothes became a visual-metaphors for how well defined they were as men and candidates. For the majority who watched this first televised U.S. Presidential debate, Kennedy was the clear winner - while those few who listened on the radio, called it a draw or gave Nixon the edge. 

How would those around you rate your confidence? Alpha or Beta? Narcissist or just right? Are you sure?


Friday, October 7, 2011

Body Language Secret # 510: Miracles

How's this for Body Language?! Miraculous!!!


Negotiation Secret # 602: Honesty in Testimonies

We tend to not trust someone the less we can see of them. If they hide body parts when they are asked questions, this should set off alarms in our internal lie detectors. This is accurate for several body parts and particularly true of the hands. Here, Dr. Richelle Cooper is testifying in Dr. Conrad Murray's trial regarding the death of Michael Jackson. Her hands are visible, and with her palms up gesturing, this adds even more to her honest persona - but she has to bring them up fairly high for this to occur. It is possible that their view is even obstructed to some jury members. It would be a great idea for witnesses to testify with a plexiglass top table, or something similar, so that all those in court could see them in near entirety and see their Body Language displayed upon questioning. The same would be apply in depositions as well as voir dire. This would certainly add to the justice process. Those who bear false witness would be much more easily sussed out.


Negotiation Secret # 172: Gesture of Missed Opportunity

This is New York Yankee, Mark Teixeira after his teammate Nick Swisher struck out with bases loaded last night in the seventh inning. The Yankees lost the game and the series to the Detroit Tigers. Lifted arms are usually a Body Language sign of positive emotions, but Teixeira shows us an exception to this generalization. You don't see the members of any winning team exhibit this gesture. Go Tigers!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Negotiation Secret # 335 & 353: Incredulous with Contempt
Amanda Knox Redux

The real world is not a series of isolated events. Emotions are no exception. Here, Amanda Knox gives us a great demonstration of Contempt (subtle) blended with Incredulousness (mild to moderate). If she's indeed innocent - who could blame her for feeling either of these emotions?


Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 777:
Body Language of Apple's
"1984" Macintosh Super Bowl Commercial

In this award winning 1984 Super Bowl XVIII commercial, Apple, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak used the dsytopian George Orwell Novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four" to their dramatic advantage. Body Language was a key element to its success. It was conceived by Lee Chow, Steve Hayden and Brent Thomas of Chiat/Day. Together with the director Ridley Scott, of Blade Runner fame, they made what has been named the greatest commercial of all time. It begins with people marching in unison, heads shaved or nearly shaved, dressed in drab prison like garb. Uniforms are of course in part, used as a tool of conformity. They aide in the taking away or minimizing the rights, needs, thoughts, creativity, desires, etc. of the individual. These drab outfits together with the synchronized marching, almost identical hair cuts and homogeneous, blackish-grey and dull-blue background of all those but the nameless heroin (performed by Anya Major) are all further examples of mirroring - dramatically adding to the anti-individually and group thought. Totalitarian leaders from the beginning of human history have used this principal to more easily bond and thus control the masses. Military leaders soon caught on. Of course, schools, companies and even scouting organizations employ this tool of control.

With the exception of Big Brother (performed by David Graham), the "Thought Police" and the athletic, blonde, boat rocking, screen-shattering heroin - all the "workers" have faces with the same "ten thousand yard staring" expressions. This far away look is often a nonverbal sign of acute stress reaction, dissociation, disengagement, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. The masked thought police have their faces completely covered. This anonymous form of a "costume" has advantages that playwrights, hangmen, criminals, sports teams and others have long used to their benefit. If you deny another the ability to "read" your face and emotions - it becomes much easier to inflict harm on them. 

Interestingly, the angry faced, Hitleresque, Big Brother is wearing two sets of glasses. This is a strong symbol for someone who REALLY is Metaphorically Myopic. Narrow vision equals narrow thinking - ergo "Tunnel Vision".

Our heroin is being chased by the thought police. She is the only clearly female person shown.  She is athletic. She is running. She is fast. She is beautiful. Her face is animated. She is colorful. With reddish-orange shorts,  with a cubist type color drawing of a Macintosh computer on the front of a white tank top, she is a brilliant, statement of individuality. She accomplishes her mission by destroying the screen, the message, as well as the connection Big Brother has with the masses. The worker bees all take on a dramatic expression of surprise with some transitioning to fear. Surprise is the most evanescent of all emotions, lasting only for a second or two - it is almost always is rapidly followed by a follow-up emotion - here it is fear, but it could be anger, embarrassment, joy, etc.

Many claim Apple wanted to use this commercial as a "visual metaphor" to pit themselves against IBM. IBM's nickname is "Big Blue". This sounds pretty close to "Big Brother" and IBM's dominance and reputation for orthodoxy makes this a convincing argument. Despite the entire Board of Directors voting against its use, Jobs and Wozniak continued to strongly support it. Wozniak even offered to personally pay for the cost of its airing during the 1984 Superbowl. It ended up of course being shown during the third quarter of the game. With one minor exception (Twin Falls, Idaho), this was the only time it has ever been broadcasted in a commercial spot - which greatly adds to its mystique. Many spoke about it more than Super Bowl XVIII (Who played in that one anyway?). Among other honors, it has been voted by Advertising Age as well as TV Guide as the Greatest commercial of all time. In 2007 it was voted as the best commercial in Super Bowl history. All this without even showing us the product. Wow!

"You can't connect the dots looking forward;
 you can only connect them looking backwards.
 So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.
 You have to trust in something -
 your gut, 
 This approach has never let me down,
 and it has made all the difference in my life."