Thursday, June 7, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1868:
John McCain's plea before the Senate for
Direct American Involvement to Stop
Syrian Government Killing its own People

Direct your attention to Senator McCain's changing hand positions throughout this segment and how they are related to what we hear him say. The former Presidential Candidate's body language is very congruent with his tone, words and volume (indicating his high "Sincerity Quotient" here) - but many times in our own business and personal lives we don't see this agreement. Said another way, many times the body language will say one thing and the words/tone will say another. Whenever there is a disparity - always believe the body language. Word choice is much more consciously controlled. Tone of voice is often misleading as well - although tone is more reliable than words. Body language is extremely difficult to consciously control - so it is the most reliable when assessing for sincerity and/or deception. Even if, for example, you're able to alter the nonverbal display of your hands - the underlying emotion will "leak" out in your face or elsewhere.

Note how McCain's hand positions adopt more palms-up configuration when he is making a plea or talking about Syrian Civilians' needs - and his tone and volume match the nature of his words (again - in your own lives you'll see many times where they don't match). When his words change to criticism of the Obama Administration he adopts a vertical hand-chop. His tone and volume are much more harsh. So the take home point here is - when you see the hand chop, with kind words - don't trust the words. There is alpha-assertiveness and dominance behind the hand chop. Depending on the other signals you may see clustered with the hand chop (particularly on the face) it may also signal anger and force

Also notice towards the end of this video when John McCain is discussing more graphic and personalizing examples of fresh wounds, death and rape - his hands display considerable anxiety as he rolls up some paper into a tighter and tighter roll.

John McCain has suffered a peripheral cranial nerve (aka facial nerve) palsy on his left face several years ago (if no cause is found for this specific type of palsy, it is known as "Bell's Palsy"). This palsy makes his facial nonverbals difficult to interpret.