Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Negotiation Secret # 192:
Perception Disparity, Insincerity, Fear and Rupert Murdoch

Rupert  Murdoch, his son James and Rebeka Brooks were grilled today before a British Parliamentary Committee as part of the investigation for the rapidly growing phone hacking scandal by the recently defunct News of the World

Rupert Murdoch's statement (at 1:12-1;16 in the video above): "...this is the most humble day of my life." - is demonstrative for several considerable insincerity tells. His forehead and brow expressions during this statement to the Parliamentary Committee were consistent with anger while his mouth shows evidence of what is referred to as "Duping Delight" (Paul Ekman). An example of duping delight in a microexpression can be seen at 5:06 in the video below (clustered with a bilateral brow flash and head tilt which in this setting indicates an incredulous and patronizing emotional mindset. There are multiple other microexpressions as well as subtle expressions of duping delight seen through Mr. Rupert Murdoch's testimony.

Duping delight is significant in that a person feels he's getting away with something and moreover takes pleasure in pulling the wool over our eyes. None of the examples sited in the above paragraph are consistent with a sincerity. 

James Murdoch (Rupert's son) shows signs of considerable nervousness - both for himself and for his father. Notice how his eyelids (particularly his upper eyelids) are opened so widely. In this context, this is a clear demonstration of fear. In fairness, he could very well be in fear of being falsely accused - and the ramifications of such, but he feels considerable fear throughout much of his testimony.

Wendi Deng-Murdoch (Rupert's wife) demonstrates a moderate amount of nervousness during key questioning directed at her husband (she is sitting behind Rupert in a Pink top). Neither James or Wendi has a lot of confidence in Rupert's ability to testify. James wanted to reach out and stop his father from pounding with his palm (and subsequently pounding with a hand-chop), but he refrained himself (1:31 in second video). Wendi did in fact reach out and do this and it can be clearly seen at 1:46 in the second video.

I find it interesting that none of these individuals, so wealthy and so "Worldly" were prepped (or prepped more thoroughly) before such an important and public appearance. Many smart, wealthy and otherwise successful people are extremely un-objective when it comes to how they believed they are being perceived and how they are actually perceived. This is what I refer to as "Perception Disparity" - and it will frequently lead to lost sales, lost elections, litigation, victimization, jail time and divorces. What's particularly interesting is that, for the vast majority of the time, those who have more formal education - and even advanced degrees, are considerably more guilty of these mistakes - faux pas 101. Many doctors and attorneys are very guilty of this. 

As we endeavor to climb our various socioeconomic ladders, we would be remiss if we don't use body language skills and other similar tools to stay objective - particularly in situations where bias is extremely strong. Ouch!