Saturday, December 29, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2246:
Harry Reid vs. Mitch McConnell on the Senate Floor -
Their Body Language Betrays How they Feel about
Probability of Fiscal Cliff Deal

After meeting with President Obama Friday afternoon [along with Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and John Boehner (R-OH)], U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Harry Reid (D-NV) went back to the Senate floor to address their colleagues and the American people regarding a possible eleventh hour fix of fiscal cliff financial mess. Their hand positions betray their relative feelings regarding the specifics of the Bill - which are as yet undisclosed.

Note that both of Harry Reid's hands are very visible, gripping the lectern - and more specifically are forward on it (during 0:27 - 0:40, 0:44 - 0:46, 1:22 - 1:35) rather than what is usually seen when the lectern is touched (holding the sides closer to one's torso). This signals his relative optimism - both in the proposed plan itself as well as its chances in passing into law. Reid is being assertive, showing alpha emotional tone and displaying confidence

In contrast, Mitch McConnell has left hand in his front pants pocket (during 0:37 - 1:02 and 1:21 - 1:22). This body language akin to a "turtle with his head in his shell" signaling less optimism towards the bill passing and/or the Kentucky Senator feels that the plan currently in the works is not one that he and his fellow conservatives will think is fair or favorable. A man (or woman or child) with his (her) hand(s) in his pockets is not relaxed - although he probably wants you to think so. Rather he's in a moment of emotional dissonance - part of him wants to be there - but another part does not. It's a non-assertive, beta, lower confidence nonverbal. While some people may "do this all the time" - and this may be viewed as being normal behavior for them - this is a particular signal which tends to transcend the principle of body language "norming". If you want to show confidence and be more confident - keep your hands out of your pockets!

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2074: Mitt Romney and Senator Kelly Ayotte - What Body Language Tells?

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 831: Santorum's Hands and the Alpha-Beta Hybrid

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1143: Santorum Video Analysis - R2E2 and other Tells

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2208: President Obama & Mitt Romney in the Oval Office -  Multiple Body Language Tells

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 913:  Low Confidence, Low Trust and Demure

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1712: Negative Nonverbals and The Recency Effect -  President Obama's Campaign Ad "Go" 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2245: The Fiscal Cliff Grows Closer & Tempers Fray -  Barack Obama's Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2150: Body Language Advice for  President Obama and Governor Romney in Tonight's Debate