Friday, December 9, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 493:
Contrasting David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy -
Alpha & Beta Behavior

This video shows a great contrast in the Body Language of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron - as they speak on the U.K. not being given concessions and the ability to "opt-out" of financial rules of an EU treaty should they so choose. President Sarkozy displays significant low confidence posture throughout - with multiple shoulder shrugs, shoulder elevation/foreshortened neck (think of a turtle who's head is not quite withdrawn in its shell) as well as multiple palms up displays. His forehead is nearly constantly contracted and elevated along with his eyebrows. This forehead-eyebrow elevation tends to be strongly concomitant with the shoulder shrugs (and is a common manifestation of the shrug-gesture cluster).  All these collectively form and reinforce the nonverbal message of a beta, low confidence emotional mindset. Sarkozy's body language is strongly saying, "Don't blame me, what else could I do?" 

Interestingly, the French President also gives us a clear nose rub near the very end of his segment (1:32 mark) when he says, "...which according to the basic treaty, we are all destined to be in the Eurozone." His nose rub at this moment indicates a high probability he does not believe this.

Prime minister Cameron displays confidence for the duration with confident shoulder posture (no shrugs), an extended (confident) neck as well as multiple alpha, hand-arm displays such as the half and full basketball steeple, a brief low conventional steeple (it's good to be brief when displaying the traditional steeple) and an arm-not-fully-extended-fingers-held-loose-hand-chop (which should never be done with an extended finger point or with the arm fully extended). David Cameron is doing a very good job displaying confident, alpha leadership nonverbals. His words match his body language nicely.

European Commission President Jose' Manuel Barroso is shown in the final third of the video. At the 3:32 mark he rocks side to side (moderate frequency) and he repeats this just before the end of the clip. When a speaker displays this nonverbal, it's a strong indicator that he/she has high degree of confidence in what they are saying.