Sunday, September 30, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2132:
Variations on a Theme -
The Palm-Forward Dominant Spider (The Claw) vs.
The Split-Finger Fastball

On Monday, 25 September 2012, U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly. Here are two images taken from that same speech. In the photo above, he uses a version of "The Dominant Spider" (aka "The Claw") - with his palm facing forward - towards the audience. This is a very alpha and dominant nonverbal. It should be choreographed - used at specific times, for short durations and in small doses. Use it with caution. If not, this very assertive body language will come across too strong and thus will backfire and destroy rapport.

In the picture below, President Obama is exemplifying a "softened" version of "The Claw". It's called the "Split Finger Fast Ball" because of resemblance to a pitcher's hand/finger configuration in the well-known baseball delivery. It's not as aggressive and not as alpha as The Claw - rather it is a great example of an alpha-beta hybrid. Not too assertive, not too demure. This is an example of a body language nuance that escapes most of those in power positions - the happy medium.

A fascinating aspect to nonverbal communication can be seen contrasting the mid-face of the American President in these two images. Note in the bottom photo, Obama's face is also softer, friendly and more rapport engendering. Facial tension, anger and all negative emotions are very often mirrored in hand tension. If the hand is more relaxed the face is as well. The opposite is just as true. If there's any doubt in your mind as to the intent or emotions of someone, cross checking the body language of their hands with the face should help you to be much more specific in your "Nonverbal Diagnosis".

See also:

Analysis # 1059: Rick Santorum's Dominant Spider

Analysis # 702 : Muammar Gaddafi's (Gadhafi's) Dominant Spider

Analysis # 731: Super Mario Monte's Dominant Spider

Analysis # 1871: Barack Obama Explains His "Private Sector is Doing Fine" Comment - The Dominant Spider vs. The Split-Finger Fastball