The above photo was taken this past weekend at the G7 Summit in Germany (Bavaria). In the foreground from left to right are Matteo Renzi (The Prime Minister of Italy), Christine Lagarde (Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund) and U.S. President Barack Obama.
With respect to their body language, Obama and Lagarde have similar displays - with their hands clasped behind their backs. While it certainly would give us more nuance to see how their hands/wrists/fingers are held - this nonverbal configuration projects a high level of confidence. Like most alpha displays, if it is held for too long or is performed too frequently, it will backfire and send signals of arrogance, patronizing attitudes and condescending emotional tones. Thus because this is a photo and not an extended video - we cannot fully contextualize their mindsets.
Prime Minister Renzi is adjusting his right shirt cuff. While he certainly could be preparing for a posed, group picture - the vast majority of the time this maneuver is a highly reliable anxiety tell (and in this moment it's absolutely the case). More specifically, this (false) cuff-adjust signals a person whose psyche is attempting to dialing-up their alpha qualities. This particular alpha up-regulator is much more common in men (and there are others too - can you name some? What are a few common female analogs?).
The elevated central forehead contraction Renzi is displaying coupled with his slight, mouth pseudo-smile is an extremely common facial cluster of a person who is trying to "look more important" than they feel - and is prevalent in high school dances or on many an attorney's face in the courtroom. Think of Renzi's entire nonverbal cluster as saying, "I want to have swagger, but for right now I'm faking it."
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