Yesterday, amidst rumors of his quitting or impending firing by President Trump, White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, held a press briefing. The video above is a portion of that briefing. What follows is a partial nonverbal analysis.
JOHN KELLY (beginning at 0:00): "I would just offer to you that, ah, although I read it all the time, a-, pretty consistently, I -, I'm not quitting today. Ahhhhum, ∑, I, I don't believe and I just talked to the President - I don't think I'm being fired today ahhhhum, and ahhhh, I am not so frustrated in this job that, ahhhh, I'm thinking of leaving. I'll tell you, this is ---- the hardest job I've ever had Ω - ahhh, this is, in my view, the most important job I've ever had. Ah, I would offer though, it is not the best job I ever had. Best job I ever had, as I've said many times, is when I was an enlisted marine, sergeant, infantryman - that was the best job I ever had. So, ah, unless things change - I'm not, ahum, quitting. I'm not getting fired ∆. And, ahhh, I don't think I'll fire anyone tomorrow."
During 0:08, as he says, "... I -, I'm not quitting today, Ahhhhum...", John Kelly first makes the expression captured in the photo above. This face shows a combination of Regret, Disgust, and Contempt.
Only a second later (during 0:09 and notated by ∑ ), he then makes the expression of pure Regret.
As he says, "... and I just talked with the President ...", Kelly interlaces his fingers in a hand-clenching variation - indicative of Frustration.
During 0:14 - just after he says, "... I don't think I'm being fired today, ahhhhum ...", Kelly displays Regret once more.
During 0:16, as he says, "... and ahhhh, I am not so frustrated in this job that, ahhhh, I'm thinking of leaving...", the White House Chief of Staff again displays a deep expression of combined Regret, Disgust, and Contempt.
During 0:26, just after he says, "... this is ---- the hardest job I've ever had ..." (notated by Ω ), John Kelly displays another expression of Regret, this time combined with Disgust.
During 0:48, as he says, "... So, ah, unless things change - I'm not, ahum, quitting....", we see yet another display of Regret combined with Disgust.
During 0:50, just after he says, "... I'm not getting fired ..." (notated by a ∆), COS Kelly displays a "Loose Tongue Jut", indicating the thought-emotions, of "I've been bad", "I've been caught", and similar. In this context, this indicates either deception, over-stepping on Kelly's part - and/or his feelings toward making such a declaration on the record (Take care not to confuse this with a "Tight Tongue Jut" - which has a completely different meaning).
Summary: At multiple times during his press briefing yesterday, Chief of Staff John Kelly displayed Disgust, Contempt, and Regret. He also either told a lie, felt he was over-stepping, and/or doing something wrong when making the statement, "... I'm not getting fired ...".
It's profoundly important to correlate nonverbal signals with paralanguage and verbal behavior. In that light, it's noteworthy that many of John Kelly's body language signals occurred simultaneous with the filler words, "ahum" or "ahhh". This interrelationship is no coincidence. As you increase your nonverbal prowess, these auditory markers will help you better recognize the accompanying nonverbal signals.
Prefacing statements such as, "I don't think" (I'm being fired today) and "unless things change" (I'm not, ahum, quitting. I'm not getting fired) - as well as his qualifying uses of the word "today" - are non-declarative, lack confidence, and are particularly telling - signaling John Kelly's feelings of unpredictability with the Trump Administration.
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