Saturday, March 17, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1411:
Dialing Up Her Alpha -
Dana Perino

Former White House Press Secretary, Dana Perino is shown in this image displaying a specific MAP sub-type. The term "MAP" is an acronym for the body language synonyms, "Manipulators, Adaptors or Pacifiers". A MAP is nonverbal lingo for self-touching - and although their are exceptions, most MAPs indicate increased levels of anxiety. This "Hair Adjust Behind the Ear" (HABE) is no exception.

The hair-adjust-behind-the-ear is seen almost exclusively with women and gay men although straight men will occasionally display it (The HABE has several stereotypical male analogs - can you name any?). Specifically, when you see the HABE maneuver, the subconscious is calling on the psyche to "dial-up" the Alpha personality qualities (e.g. Less Beta and more Alpha).

Of course, sometimes one's hair needs to be adjusted and kept out of one's face - particularly long hair. Dana doesn't have long hair though - and the most of the time, even those with long hair who display this nonverbal, have momentary emotional tones consistent with the "dialing-up my alpha" need. Take mental notes of when you see this gesture - it will surprise you. It's as if the emotional mind is trying to be more assertive, and yet trying to stay composed. The HABE doesn't indicate that the person as a whole lacks confidence - it speaks only to one of the emotions being experienced at that moment.

A very consistent and valuable negotiation signal - the HABE is telling you another person perceives herself (at least momentarily) at a disadvantage, less confident, and a bit out of their element. 

Although MAPs do not indicate deception directly, it's well established that their frequency increases at times of deception - especially hand-to-face MAPs. Never self-touch, particularly your head and especially your face when speaking. While no one watching may have body language training or knowledge, audience members (even an audience of one) will perceive a speaker as less credible and/or less confident when they commit MAPs. Many are simply left with the feeling that "something doesn't feel right".