Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2363: Hillary Clinton, Body Language and the Political Point -
Hand Tension Correlations with Facial Tension

These two images demonstrate how hand tension correlates with hand tension. Here we see two variations on what in some countries is known in body language colloquial as the "Political Point". It is an example of what is simultaneously both a nonverbal "Illustrator" as well as an "Emblem". 

In North America and parts of Europe, this gesture is used instead of an index finger (aka forefinger) point. It is a softer and kinder way of pointing and yet it still emphasizes key issues (as illustrators are supposed to do) and demonstrates assertiveness -but it is not "overly alpha" or offensive.

However emblems such as these political points shown in these images here will have different meaning in different countries and regions. In much of North America and significant portions of Europe, touching the tip of your forefinger (aka index finger) to the tip of your thumb (on the same hand) while making a circle or oval signifies "okay" or good. However in other parts of Europe - e.g., the Northern Mediterranean region, such as Italy and Greece - and also much of Russia, Turkey as well as Brazil - this same hand gesture will take on the meaning of a sexual insult or an orifice. In France, Belgium and Tunisia it means zero or without worth. Thus it is extremely important to know the variation of emblems for any given culture.

Beyond the specific meaning within the context of an illustrator or an emblem, there is another deeper indicator here. Look at Hillary's hand in the image below. Her fingers are tight and her thumb & forefinger are being pinched together. This correlates strongly with the expression on her face. Her tension in her hand is being mirrored by tension in her face. Contrast this with the photo above where her fingers are loose, relaxed and open - her thumb-index finger are not being pinched tightly. This more loosely held hand configuration correlates highly with her much more relaxed face.

There will often be nonverbal scenarios when you're not sure what emotion the face (or body) is displaying. In such situations, it's good to look at the hands and use this facial-hand phenomenon to help you diagnose the accurate emotional display.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2321:  Cardinal Timothy Dolan on "Face the Nation"  Problems in Catholic Church & Electing a New Pope  Clergy are Not Exempt from Body Language Tells ...

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 515:  Huntsman's Skeptical Eyebrow

Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1995:  Barack Obama, Social Darwinism and the Political Point 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2337:  Rick Santorum at 2013 CPAC  Body Language,Facial Tension & Hand Tension

Negotiation Secret # 441:  The Political Point - How Not to Use It

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2322:  Jeb Bush & Matt Lauer - Which one is the Narcissist?  Body Language Red Flags

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1899:  Bill Cassidy and "Obama-care" -  Letting your Body Language Detract from your Message