Saturday, February 4, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1083:
Brewer's MAPs Flag Foreboding

We don't know what President Obama is discussing with Governor Jan Brewer (R-AZ) in this White House meeting, but we do know she's feeling trepidation. At first glance, one may confuse Brewer's hand configuration for that of a steeple - but it's not - her fingers and palms are too close together here. (see Secret # 901: The Over-used Steeple, Back Fire in Berlin and Secret # 705: Two Signals No Candidate Should Want to Project) This Pseudo-Prayer Signal, when held close to, or when covering the mouth (her hands may have just been doing so - or may have, just after this image was captured) often (but not always) accompanies fear, surprise or embarrassment. In other positions - particularly when held lower and moved in a chopping motion - the pseudo-prayer has a completely different meaning. When you see the pseudo-prayer - always look at the mouth and eyes for hints.

Most all self-touching (but not all) fits into a class of nonverbals known as Manipulators, Adaptors, or Pacifiers (aka MAPs). MAPs indicate anxiety related to other negative emotions - and as with all body language tells, it is crucial to look for congruence with other nonverbal signs. The interpretation of the pseudo-prayer signal is also often contingent upon and amplifies simultaneous facial expressions. The Governor's mouth clearly conveys concern. Whatever Barack is telling Jan in this Oval Office encounter - evokes a primal fear display.