Saturday, July 14, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2043:
Foot Position at a Funeral/Receiving of Remains Ceremony -
Respect vs. Disrespect

The ceremony for the receiving of the remains of a soldier, while not a funeral, commands the same level of respect and reverence. In most scenarios, standing with one's feet together connotes a demure, beta, low confidence or low comfort emotional tone - but not so when in paying our respects to the deceased. Note that the two servicemen closest to the camera have their feet together, as does the person standing behind the casket (only feet and top of head visible). Certainly military protocol varies from country to country, however the "feet together and parallel" position is a universal body language sign of respect - military or civilian. The remaining serviceman (furthest in the row) is standing with his feet apart, positioned obliquely, in a more relaxed configuration - and thus in this setting he's sending nonverbal signals of aloofness, non-engagement and disrespect.

See also:

Analysis # 1843: United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice in Response to the Syrian Government's Houla Massacre

Analysis # 719: When to Stand with Your Feet Together

Analysis # 919: How Newt Stands Influences Voters

Analysis # 1867: Ann Romney - Demure vs. Assertive Stance

Analysis # 14: High and Low Confidence Drivers: Arms Akimbo and Assertive Attitudes