Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Tip # 1239:
Benjamin Netanyahu, Barack Obama and Iran

This is an interesting video which includes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, United States President Barack Obama and some of their remarks regarding Iran and nuclear weapons. From a body language analysis point of view - both leaders display nonverbal signals which are completely congruent with their verbal statements.

The President has several times quoted Teddy Roosevelt's "Speak softly and carry a big stick" - and this video clearly demonstrates several similar nonverbal signals. Both men are very accomplished speakers and very accustomed to being in the spot light - yet notice how President Obama is sitting in his chair - leaning back and less engaged than Mr. Netanyahu. The Prime Minister is seated forward, only his lower back touches the chair during this video - indicating a much higher "decision ready" emotional tone.

Mr. Netanyahu's feet are planted flat on the floor as well - further demonstrating that he's either very close to making a decision or is making it now. Barack Obama's legs are crossed however - consistent with the President's verbal remarks that although, "... The United States will always have Israel's back when it comes to Israel's security...", and that "... I do not have a policy of containment. I have a policy of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."-  Obama believes there is still time for negotiation and a diplomatic solution with Iran. Notice that his left leg is crossed towards Netanyahu. In addition, Obama leans toward Netanyahu - mirroring his posture change of a few seconds earlier (at about the 6:25 mark) further demonstrating favor and respect for the Israeli leader and his views. We point our feet towards, lean towards and mirror those whom we like and respect. Yet the President has not yet reached the dichotomy mindset of "to attack or not attack". The President believes and sees - both intellectually and emotionally - a Grey Zone; whereas Netanyahu's brain has crossed into the land of the Black and White decision.