Friday, January 20, 2012

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 793:
The Finger Point - A Rare Exception

During the Republican Presidential Debate yesterday in North Charleston, South Carolina, Newt Gingrich committed the all-too-common nonverbal gaffe by gesturing at the audience using the conventional and very adversarial index-finger point, at the 1:08 to 1:15 mark in this video. Pointing at the audience in this manner is virtually always a major faux pas

Mama always told us not to point. But....there's exceptions to almost everything ....and here's one.

At the 2:10 to 2:22 mark in this same video, Gingrich points again - however this time at CNN's debate moderator, John King. In a debate setting, the moderator is, of course, not the audience and so Gingrich plays off the very positive feedback he had just received from them to further advance his cause and thus he nonverbally prosecutes and convicts King, his network and other big media as the real criminals. 

This is a rare exception to the "No Finger Point Rule". Such pointing should not even be directed towards the other candidates. 

Later in the video, at the 2:38 to 2:43 mark, Speaker Gingrich gestures to the other presidential hopefuls in the very friendly  palm-up manner, briefly engendering an artificial solidarity with his adversaries. This is how Gingrich should have pointed to the audience at the beginning of his answer (see paragraph one, above). Who would have thought that Newt's second ex-wife could be such an asset? Talk about a "Backfire". On the eve of the South Carolina Presidential Primary, several polls show the former Speaker of the House in the lead. If Gingrich goes on to win the Republican nomination, this may very well be the moment we look back on as the turning point in his campaign.