Monday, January 9, 2012

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 398:
Rick Santorum's Anger and compensatory MAPs

In this image of the Republican Presidential Candidate hopeful at a January 5, 2012 Northfield, New Hampshire town hall meeting - Rick Santorum demonstrates two significant nonverbal mistakes that an experienced speaker should never commit. The former Senator from Pennsylvania is compressing and tightening his lips in a highly characteristic horizontally straight line. This configuration is very consistent with the emotion of anger. The mild (Santorum's left) to moderate (right) partial closing of his eyelids is also congruent with mild to moderate anger and incredulity.

Mr. Santorum is also self-touching. Self-touching fits into a class of nonverbal behaviors known as Manipulators, Adaptors or Pacifiers (MAPs). With rare exceptions, speakers of any profession are ill-advised to self-touch any body part - particularly their face or the other hand. Like many other MAPs, the "Hand Wringing" seen demonstrated here by the former senator - is a body language tell indicative of anxiety. Santorum has enjoyed a recent surge in the poles with a very near win in the Iowa Caucuses. The New Hampshire Primary tomorrow will, of course, provide many more opportunities for Santorum and the other five remaining republican candidates to show us their nonverbal anxiety.