Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Negotiation Secret # 57: The Handgun Steeple

Venezuela's President, Hugo Chavez is not known for his subtleties or his finesse. If we didn't already know this, we could predict it by what we see here. The gesture Mr. Chavez is using is sometimes called the "Handgun Steeple". It should never be used when seeking diplomacy or when seeking agreement among peers. It is universally interpreted as overbearing, intimidating and patronizing. It should be used very sparingly and only on those occasions when specifically and deliberately trying to intimidate another individual or group. It should always be avoided in negotiations. If I were coaching Hugo, among other things, I'd advise him not to use this again in the Kremlin. After all, Mr. Putin is a black belt and Mr. Chavez is short on friends.