Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Intelligence Analysis # 2111:
Mitt Romney on Libya Embassy Killings -
Multiple Displays of Contempt

This morning Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney gave a press conference regarding the yesterday's attacks on the American Embassies in Egypt and Libya. Four members of the staff of the embassy in Libya were killed including ambassador Chris Stevens.

Governor Romney displayed multiple subtle-to-moderate examples of contempt during this press conference. He tends to speak with his mouth in an asymmetrical configuration - distorted to his right when he's nervous (the obvious stutter at the beginning of this video further demonstrates his anxiety). His mouth looked similar to this during portions of his speech at the RNC two weeks ago. Most anyone would have some anxiety during such a convention scenario - though hopefully "good-nervous". 

Romney displayed this same anxiety tell during this morning's press conference - however he also exampled many instances of contempt as well. The emotion of contempt is also an asymmetrical nonverbal signal - with the mouth taking on a one-sided snarl-like appearance and a bit of a curl to the lip - which Mitt showed us multiple times. Less noticeable was his nostril dilation/flaring.

Most people can spot severe contempt (as well as other emotions). But what is astounding is the extraordinary number of professionals who miss moderate, let alone subtle displays of emotions on others' faces/bodies - and moreover they continue to send out these same signals to others. Learning to read AND display the subtleties will give you a distinct and dramatic advantage.