Thursday, November 17, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 387:
Extended and Interwoven Fingers

This is United States Senator and former Presidential Candidate, John Kerry, D-MA. He is pictured here during a recent meeting of the "Super Committee" (The United States Congress Joint Selection Committee on Deficit Reduction). He is one of its twelve members.

The tension in his mid-face, the thinning of the lips, the clenching of Kerry's jaw and the lowering of his eye brows are all consistent with anger.  I want to draw your attention to his hands however. Notice his fingers are intertwined and extended. This is a great nonverbal tell of stress. When the fingers are extended and interwoven in this fashion - there is a significant component of anxiety present (Navarro). In an interview or meeting setting, it is very likely that the question which was just asked or the issue which was just raised - evoked this anxiety. You would be well advised to slow down the conversation, dig deeper and use the Socratic method to get to the root of this great body language tell.