Sunday, May 26, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2409:
David Cameron & François Hollande -
Variations on the Hand Chop & Palm Orientation
(Video, Photos)

The following six images are isolated from the above video where U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron is shown during his portion of a dual press conference with French President François Hollande. The two were meeting in Paris four days ago (22 May 2013) - the same day as the terrorist attack and brutal killing of U.K. soldier, Lee Rigby - although all of the images below are from portions of this speech when he was speaking on other issues.

David Cameron is a very good speaker with a similar level of nonverbal skills. He does at times though tend to use the "Vertical Hand Chop" excessively (and its variations). This is in part due to his tendency to speak in a rapid, staccato style - as if he were a barrister on the attack in court (but certainly not in all court matters) - or during particularly vigorous defense of an idea before Parliament. In such scenarios this may at times be very beneficial. In other contexts however, his speeches are more effective and he builds more rapport when he slows down and use a bit less alpha (sometimes hyper-alpha), and over-repetition of this hand chop.

The vertical hand chop is an alpha body language illustrator. There are versions of it which "amp up" the alpha qualities - as well as other modifications which give it more beta characteristics.

Here Mr. Cameron is chopping rapidly. Using this gesture with a higher speed increases its alpha and conversely, slowing it down increases the beta. Any leader should always contextualize the nonverbal with the verbal and the relative importance of the subtopic within the speech as a whole. Speeches have many of the characteristics of a good song. They have a crescendo & decrescendo qualities, verses, speed changes, etc. and all nonverbals should match the desired effect.

In this photo Mr. Cameron uses the hand chop with open - fingers. This configuration makes it less alpha and more beta.

Here we see Mr. Cameron using the vertical hand chop with his fingers tightly closed.

Increased tension in the hands is highly correlative with increased facial tension. Compare the U.K. leader's face and hand (high tension) in this image to that immediately above - where both are much less tense. This increased tension is consistent with more anger and increased relative priority with what is being discussed verbally (which of course is not always evident when only listening to the words). Such patterns are not only seen in political speeches - but are seen repeatedly evident in sales, court, mediation or negotiations.

Notable is how Cameron turns his palm partially up, with his fingers open in this gesture towards Hollande (and thus France). When displayed correctly, palms-up gestures are much more engendering of openness and collegiality - while still conveying authority and intelligence.

This is very much the opposite of the image immediately above, with Mr. Cameron using his palm turned partially down. His fingers are still open however.

Note again the contrast of the tension on the P.M.'s face here compared to when his palm is more up-turned.

Here Mr. Cameron is speaking about how strong Anglo-French cooperation on sharing tax information regarding corporations operating within Europe "...has helped to unlock a European agreement that I think will make a real difference for the future...."

Here his palm-partially oriented down and his twisting of his hand & wrist act as a visual nonverbal metaphor for the "unlocking" of which he speaks (a body language analog of an onomatopoeia). This configuration again also conveys the relative importance he feels about this subject and his/U.K.s role in it.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2061:  David Cameron Defends London Olympics against Mitt Romney's Remarks - Alpha Dominance and Illustrators - Matching Hands and Feet as Sincerity Amplifiers

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 493:  Contrasting David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy - Alpha & Beta Behaviors

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2064:  David Cameron & Boris Johnson - Wincing at Wimbledon

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 1019:  Cameron's Critical Cluster

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1287:  Barack Obama & David Cameron - Mirroring

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2037:  When Chanel Suits Don't Match the Body Language -  Christine Lagarde's High Anxiety

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1834:  Chelsea FC vs. Bayern Munich and the G8

NonverbaNonverbal Communication Analysis # 1705:  François Hollande & the French Presidential Election  The Pistol Steeple and Emotional Dissonance

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1720:  Critical Evaluation, Disbelief & a Partial Emblematic Slip  Valérie Trierweiler & François Hollande 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2048:  The Arm Grip, Shoulder Touch and Back Touch Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 531:  Sarkozy's Mouth Tells Us What He's Feeling