Monday, February 4, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis #2291:
A Tight Fist and Tension in The Face -
Jay Carney's Body Language as he defends
Chuck Hagel's performance during
Senate Confirmation Hearings

At multiple times in the above video, Jay Carney uses "Tight Fist" gestures (e.g. during 0:38 - 0:55) as he defends Chuck Hagel's performance during his Secretary of Defense Senate Confirmation Hearings last week. What he almost certainly was intending to use is a "Loose Fist Thumbs Up" gesture (NOT seen in this video, but shown in the image below), which his boss President Obama uses often and well. A loose fist thumbs up illustrator is a great example of an alpha-beta hybrid nonverbal - not too alpha and not overly beta, but in between. Particularly for leaders, alpha-beta hybrid body language is great to use (of which this is but one of many examples), for these have the advantages of not being overly aggressive and hyper-dominant - while at the same time avoiding projecting acquiescing or demure emotional tones. Mr. Carney's tight fist illustrators have the reverse effect of his intentions. They alienate rather than build rapport. He is being over-alpha and thus his message has a strong tendency to backfire.

Mr. Carney is strongly and sincerely defending Sen. Hagel and the White House's endorsement of him. The emotions associated with his strong opinions "leak" out in multiple microexpressions, subtle expressions and overt displays of contempt on the left side of his face. Moreover, when the face manifests strong negative emotions, these tensions often are mirrored in tension in the hands. This common phenomenon is the very reason the press secretary is making tight fists rather than the "Loose Fist Thumbs Up" exampled to the left.

When you see tension in the face, look for it in the hands and vice versa. In addition, when a person is angry and they relax and/or massage their hands - or have a face massage, their anger will nearly always diminish, often dramatically.

See also:

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

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

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2250:  Deal Reached on "Fiscal Cliff",  Barack Obama's Body Language  and the "Split-Finger Fastball"

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2034:  Even Physicists have Body Language -  Beta behavior at Higgs Boson Conference

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2152:  Second Presidential Debate - 16 October 2012 -  Barack Obama's Duping Delight -  Benghazi, Libya Attack was an "Act of Terror" -  Alpha, Beta, Confidence & Acquiescence ...

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2174:  President Obama, Hurricane Sandy,  Body Language and Thumbs Backwards Arms Akimbo

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1698:  Susan Rice, Bashar Ja'afari &  Kofi Annan's Six Point Peace Plan for Syria