Sunday, January 1, 2012

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 554:
Ron Paul's Palms Down Faux Pas

Texas Representative Ron Paul is shown here at a Veterans' Rally in Des Moines on December 28, just six days prior to the Iowa Caucuses. Mr. Paul is using a palms-down hand gesture here, which is one no speaker, particularly a major candidate or a head-of-state, should ever display. Palms-down gestures are universally negatively received. They transmit over-dominant, patronizing and condescending feelings. In contrast, palms-up gestures send feelings of openness - while fostering supportive and yet still assertive attitudes. In short, palms-up body language allows a speaker to be authoritative and yet simultaneously friendly - a rare and welcomed combination for which all leaders should strive.