Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1143:
Santorum Video Analysis
R2E2 and other Tells

Rick Santorum gave a recent speech in Georgia in which some suggest (and Santorum denied) he was comparing United States President Barack Obama to Hitler. It seems perhaps, that he was comparing the urgency of WWII to that of our current economic recession. In this video above, we cannot see what comes before or after, thus we cannot place it in accurate context so as to make our own judgement. The Body Language Analysis stands on it's own however, and while we cannot always tell why a person has certain emotions at specific times - the presence of these emotions is not in dispute. Nonverbal Communication gives us a real-time view into what a person's emotional brain is feeling-thinking - as it's happening. Rick Santorum was experiencing emotional dissonance during this video. This is probably because he does not fully believe everything he is saying - which has to be true for virtually all politicians a good share of the time.

Nonverbal analysis of above (truncated) video:

0:02 - 0:03, A display of contempt - right side of mouth

0:05 - 0:07, R2E2 display - right side of face. R2E2 is short for the "Rationalization-Rapport-Empathy-Expression" (See also: Secret 795: R2E2, Pseudo-Smiles and Bonding Beguiles). It usually lasts 1 -2 seconds although it can be manifested as a much shorter microexpression. It's the users attempt at trying to convince a listener of their point of view. When you see this expression, the person may not be trying to win you over in a premeditated fashion, but their view-point is being clearly expressed. It is context-related and can thus look very similar to contempt. The nose and paranasal region wrinkles, there is often a head tilt and a squinting (partial closure) of the eyelids. Often there co-exists a contempt like expression of the mouth as well. Rick Santorum displays all of these in this two second display. Obviously, the former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania is trying to become the Republican candidate for President - so we know he has a clear agenda when he gets up to make a speech. But when you see this in other settings, you can be 100% sure the person is trying to convince you of their opinion and the R2E2 is an extremely reliable signal of such intent.

When a person makes the R2E2 expression, it's also a signal she/he is usually talking to an audience (even an audience of one) who he perceives to be relatively friendly (or at least relatively neutral)- that is, mostly (but not necessarily entirely) of a similar mindset - so winning their support is realistic. His psyche feels it's in the red zone and he's trying to get a (sneaky) touchdown in a rapport-building, friendly manner before you fully recognize what's happening.

The R2E2 can also be a signal that, at least in part, the speaker is trying to convince themselves of a decision, thought process or course of action - thus rationalization is taking place and they are looking to you for agreement. The vast majority of R2E2 displays are made unconsciously. The subconscious is a sneaky companion.

Whether it's self-directed or directed towards others, the R2E2 is a sign that rationalization is occurring, that full confidence is lacking and/or a component of manipulation is present. Salespeople use this body language expression very often.

0:45, Contempt display. Contempt is a very specific emotion wherein we are placing another person or group of people below us based on their flaws.

0:49, another R2E2

0:53, Right hand finally removed from front, hip pocket - signals a relative increase in confidence, however the other hand remains hidden, so this is a less than full up-shift in comfort-confidence. See below.

1:25, Right sided, partial, Inward Lip Roll (ILR). The inward lip roll, while only partially displayed here, is a signal of our subconsciousness/edge-of-consciousness trying to refrain from expressing a negative emotion. It's our psyche's attempt at dialing-down a negative emotional experience.

See also: Secret # 322: Megan Fox's Lips

1:32, Contempt display

1:31 - 1:33, Thumb gripped inside of right, closed fist. This is an extreme anxiety signal. Sometimes there may an anger component as well.

Santorum's left hand was in his pocket the entire length of video, while his right hand taken out at 0:53 mark. Hands in the pockets are signals of lower confidence, lower comfort and a desire not to fully engage. There is emotional dissonance present - he knows he has to be there - but he's not fully committed to the moment - probably because he feels conflicted about what he's saying. Under no circumstances should any image coach or debate coach be recommending that he put his hands in his pockets. While in general, I would strongly recommend a speaker to use a hands-free, wireless microphone - for those who have a tendency to put their hands in their pockets - they would be well-advised to use a hand held mic, for it gives them someplace to put their hands.

See also: Secret # 913: Hands in Pockets - Low Confidence, Low Trust and Demure)