Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3210: Matteo Renzi, Christine Lagarde, Barack Obama and Up-Regulating Alpha Emotions (PHOTOS)

The above photo was taken this past weekend at the G7 Summit in Germany (Bavaria). In the foreground from left to right are Matteo Renzi (The Prime Minister of Italy), Christine Lagarde (Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund) and U.S. President Barack Obama.

With respect to their body language, Obama and Lagarde have similar displays - with their hands clasped behind their backs. While it certainly would give us more nuance to see how their hands/wrists/fingers are held - this nonverbal configuration projects a high level of confidence. Like most alpha displays, if it is held for too long or is performed too frequently, it will backfire and send signals of arrogance, patronizing attitudes and condescending emotional tones. Thus because this is a photo and not an extended video - we cannot fully contextualize their mindsets.

Prime Minister Renzi is adjusting his right shirt cuff. While he certainly could be preparing for a posed, group picture - the vast majority of the time this maneuver is a highly reliable anxiety tell (and in this moment it's absolutely the case). More specifically, this (false) cuff-adjust signals a person whose psyche is attempting to dialing-up their alpha qualities. This particular alpha up-regulator is much more common in men (and there are others too - can you name some? What are a few common female analogs?).

The elevated central forehead contraction Renzi is displaying coupled with his slight, mouth pseudo-smile is an extremely common facial cluster of a person who is trying to "look more important" than they feel - and is prevalent in high school dances or on many an attorney's face in the courtroom. Think of Renzi's entire nonverbal cluster as saying, "I want to have swagger, but for right now I'm faking it."

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3209: G7 Summit - Angela Merkel, Barack Obama and Matteo Renzi - and a Major Body Language Faux Pas

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret No. 1459: Geithner Gets His Alpha On

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2914: Fran├žois Hollande, Anxiety and Dialing up his Alpha

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2831: "Walking Contest", Anxiety, Mirroring and False Intimacy

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3086: Katy Perry's Super Bowl XLIX press conference highlights - A Key Body Language Tell

Nonverbal Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret No. 1411:  Dialing Up Her Alpha - Dana Perino

Nonverbal Negotiation Secret No. 97: The False Tie Adjust