Sunday, October 17, 2010

Negotiation Secret # 61: The High Steeple

This is an example of a high "Steeple" gesture.  Often the fingers and thumb meet at a less obtuse angle than Mr. Kaspar Villiger, the Chairman of Swiss Bank, UBS is displaying.  It is a high confidence gesture. People of low confidence never display this signal.  It is also a high status gesture, so it is very unusual for the unemployed or for the lower half of the socioeconomic class to perform.  It is interesting to note that, in general, the higher the steeple is displayed, the higher the degree of confidence.  But gender also plays a role. Women who steeple, tend to steeple lower, while men tend to steeple higher. The steeple should be used with great caution though, for as much as it is a product of confidence (or perhaps over-confidence) - it can very often project arrogance, condescension and a patronizing attitude.  So what ever side of the negotiation you sit on, the steeple is an extremely telling sign. Approach with caution when you see it and use it only on the rare occasion.