Saturday, January 4, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2668: Ryan Seacrest - Less Offensive Variations on Pointing - Body Language Nuance (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Ryan Seacrest recently appeared as a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live. In this video clip, the producer, radio personality and host of American Idol examples several ways to "point" - with varying amounts of effectiveness - and offensiveness.

Note: The original video has, since the original post, been removed from its online source. The images below however, were captured from this video.

The index finger point (forefinger point) at 0:45 - 0:46 is considered universally offensive, patronizing and condescending - especially when there is a "wagging" component (usually up and down) to the motion [an example of a "Hyper-Alpha" Nonverbal] and thus with rare exception it should be strongly avoided. Seacrest knows this - however like most of us, we occasionally commit this body language blunder.

Mr. Seacrest subconsciously softens the offensive effect though by keeping the remainder of his fingers in a loose configuration. In addition, the palm-up direction also significantly lessens the negative feelings transmitted by this nonverbal faux pas.

During this moment (0:56), Ryan points with both his index finger and his middle finger. It is also fair to say that his thumb somewhat participates in this point. Also an alpha gesture, this two-finger point (or two and a half) nonverbal is also not generally advised but it is certainly less alienating than the index finger point. Again his loose remaining digits help to down-regulate this nonverbal and make it a bit less alpha (e.g. If his thumb were tight across his palm and pressing against his ring and pinky finger - it would be considerably more assertive and offending). Note how the fact that this is not "palm-up" engenders more negative feelings. This loose two finger point resembles the "Split-Finger Fastball" - which is a better alpha-beta hybrid to use.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2519:  Vladimir Putin Speaks Syria, Chemical Weapons and Disarmament - Body Language just after his New York Times Op-Ed

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

During 0:58 - 1:04, Seacrest uses his thumb in a great body language blend of one nonverbal simultaneously having three functions:
1) A universally optimistic emblem - the "Thumbs Up"
2) Using the thumb to point with
3) To count on (using it essentially like a nonverbal bullet point)

Lots of other nonverbals displayed here by both Seacrest and Kimmel. What others did you note?

See also:

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 793:  The Finger Point - A Rare Exception

Negotiation Secret # 339:  Don't Point at Me! I am not your child!

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2644: Barry Hinson's Rant - (Southern Illinois Basketball Coach) Body Language Tells

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2667: Jimbo Fisher and Son Ethan - A Body Language Barometer of Affection