Sunday, March 29, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3141: Carly Fiorina "Higher than 90%" Chances She's Running for President - Body Language (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Today on "Fox News Sunday", Carly Fiorina, all but announced her intention to run for President in 2016. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO, who also ran for U.S. Senate in 2010 (California) but lost to the incumbent Barbara Boxer - stopped just short of an official announcement.

Ms. Fiorina's VERBAL statement was straightforward - "Higher than 90%". Most people would judge, and rightly so, when reading between the lines this - this is essentially saying 99% or higher - but why? It's because of her body language (and paralanguage). What specifically does her body language say? Is it congruent or is there disparity between her verbal and nonverbal messages?

When Chris Wallace asks, "What are the chances - that you're going to run for President?" - Fiorina answers, "Very high."

Wallace then says, "You, You're a former business woman, give me a number."

This image captured at 0:30 shows a suppressed smile (Please watch the video as the dynamics of her facial movement better demonstrates this subtle yet significant tell). What does this tell you?


Ms. Fiorina answers, "Higher than ninety-percent".

During the word "Higher", her eyes close for an extended blink. In this context, particularly timed to this word - indicates a significantly elevated level of confidence.

During the 0:32 - 0:34 segment (as she says the words, "ninety-percent", Carly Fiorina displays a mild-to-moderate and classic Self-Righteous Head Wiggle (SRHW) nonverbal signal with a torso component (Please watch the video as a still image simply cannot capture this dynamism).

A self-righteous head wiggle - as the names implies - is side-to-side movement of the head/jaw and or torso (with usually a moderately high frequency of oscillation). It may involve just the head & neck with little or no torso component, while sometimes it's almost entirely a torso signal and to varying degrees with jaw involvement. It's very important to not confuse the SRHW with the more common and mundane "no" head signal or head-wag (however negative words may be used) or other head and neck body language. 

When displaying the SRHW, people very much feel that they are in relative alpha position. Such alpha mindsets of course feel very passionately about the subjects of which they are speaking - however it's possible, even common to see this nonverbal dynamic in the absence of any verbalization.

It's also interesting to note that the frequency and volume of the spoken word often increase during or just before displaying the self-righteous head/torso/jaw wiggle. Moreover, a forward motion vector (in addition to the primary side-to-side movement) is often superimposed. This second motion dynamic is often seen when there is a component of scolding or reprimanding. In contrast, when a backward motion is seen (again, superimposed on the side-to-side movement) - this often indicates an incredulity or an overlapping emotion of disgust.

When Chris Wallace says, "Really?", the former HP CEO answers, "Yes sir." (0:34 - 0:35) - During which she displays another extended blink. 

Both the self-righteous head wiggle (with torso and/or jaw components) as well as the prolonged eyelid closures (extended duration blinking) when used very sparingly will send signals of high confidence and an alpha emotional tone. However many who use these and other alpha nonverbals (99.8% of the time subconsciously driven) will very often end up over-using them. Thus what in small doses sends signals of confidence and assertiveness - when used only slightly more (and here Ms. Fiorina does indeed overuse these during this interview) will project arrogance and a condescending mindset. This will not build rapport - it will destroy it. A candidate or any leader must certainly look the part - yet arrogance does not capture that middle third of the electorate. And without the emotional buy-in of the swing voter, no one can win in November.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3140: Italian Court Overturns Murder Conviction - Amanda Knox is She Sincere?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2398:  Self Righteous Head Wiggle, Alpha Behavior &  First Drone Flight Off of an Aircraft Carrier

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2561: President Obama's Self-Righteous Jaw Wiggle

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3134: Ted Cruz to Announce his Candidacy for 2016 Presidential Race - Why He Will Never Win - Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3127: Hillary Clinton's Press Conference and a Body Language Down-regulator of Sincerity