Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2710: Microsoft's New CEO Sayta Nadella's Body Language vs. Bill Gates (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Microsoft named Sayta Nadella as its new CEO today. In the video above, Bill Gates speaks of Nadella and gives a short monolog regarding Steve Balmer's replacement as well as his own increasing role in the company he co-founded with Paul Allen in 1975.

Bill Gates is both a technical and business genius. There are also few in the history of the planet who have been as philanthropic as has he and Melinda Gates. I would like to think that if I were in his shoes - I would be similarly as generous.

Mr. Gates needs some body language 101 remedial lessons though; for in this video he commits a common nonverbal faux pas of over-using a MAP (Manipulator, Adaptor, Pacifier). Most MAPs are indicative of beta emotional tones - primarily and specifically that of a low confidence level. This however is one exception. Bill clasps his hands 28 times in this short video. This particular nonverbal sends a patronizing signal. Moreover its extreme repetition along with his thin lipped "bitter smile" (one variety of a false smile) amplifies these condescending emotions (Be very careful of interpreting any nonverbal in isolation, for it nearly always lead to a body language misdiagnosis).

In contrast, Satya Nadella in the video below displayed a much lower frequency of MAPs. Keep in mind though that Gates had a distinct disadvantage in this comparison for he's giving a monolog, looking directly into the camera and is standing still - while Natella is walking, in a conversation (albeit rehearsed) and he is gets to (as expected) look at his interviewer most of the time.

In the isolated frame below, Sayta Nadella displays a "basketball steeple" (named so because it looks as if its user is holding and invisible one). This nonverbal is "not too beta" and "not too alpha" but just right - thus it is one example of a class of body language signals known as "alpha-beta hybrids". It signals strength yet open-mindedness and a willingness to be "gentle" without weakness.

Good luck Sayta Nadella.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2533: Angela Merkel's Low Steeple "Trademark" - A Major Body Language Mistake

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2577: Bill Clinton and Terry McAuliffe - Alpha and Beta Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2698: Lupita Nyong'o on Jimmy Fallon - an Underused Body Language Display

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1083:  Brewer's MAPs Flag Foreboding

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2642: Tom Hanks Can't Act Away a Fib - His Body Language Tells a Little Lie