Angela Merkel is one of the most powerful and influential heads of state in the World. Somewhere along the line however, she received some very misguided nonverbal training and ever since she's displayed the low steeple excessively (more specifically, a low classic steeple). If a leader (or anyone) uses a classic steeple (low, medium or high) - they should do so very sparingly - and only for a second or less during the most important part of a speech or presentation.
Chancellor Merkel uses the low classic steeple as some form of an idiosyncratic visual signature - thus rather than building rapport, this body language helps to destroy it. Rather than showing strength and assertiveness - it sends signals of arrogance and patronizing emotional tones. She may very well not be intending to project these feelings - for this is highly posed (and erroneously taught) and thus not representative of her emotions - but it is to a variable degree BEING FELT by those who view this moment.
The picture above (cropped section below, taken during the recent G7 meeting in Japan) betrays even greater levels of Merkel's nonverbal misguidance. A classic steeple is not, in ANY way, a substitute for a greeting. Thus her posing in this configuration while the other leaders are waving, not only stands in dramatic and condescending contrast to their friendly salutations (even though posed), but it also very bluntly declares, "I stand alone", "I'm not one of you" or "I'm Not in Solidarity." It is also not a coincidence that the color of her top stands out against the other leaders.
It's an interesting combination of Angela Merkel being a strong leader, flaunting a misunderstanding re: her earlier (mis)learning of nonverbal displays, idiosyncratic behavior, being the lone female (and signaling to younger women leaders) - and perhaps a bit of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
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