Sunday, July 12, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3244: Serena Williams' on-court interview at Wimbledon - Body Language Tells (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Congratulations to Serena Williams who has won the last four consecutive Major Singles titles - The U.S. Open in 2014 and in 2015 The Australian Open, The French Open and Wimbledon. This is termed a "non-calendar year grand slam". The last woman to do this was Serena herself (from the 2002 French Open to the 2003 Australian Open). The last woman to win a true grand slam (all wins within the same calendar year) was Martina Navratilova (who in 1983–84 won six consecutive major titles from the 1983 Wimbledon to the 1984 U.S. Open). This is why Serena did not want to speak about the possibility of her winning the Grand Slam this calendar year with a win upon a victory in the upcoming U.S. Open - for if she wins - she will be the first have a true calendar year grand slam in 31 years. She doesn't want to jinx herself.

No man has won a calendar year grand slam since Rod Laver who did so in 1969 - and 1962.

There are several great body language teaching moments captured in this video - one of which is discussed below...

At 1:57 the interviewer continues, "Get ready for the 'G word' coming up. No, no we won't go there. No we won't go ... don't start talking about the grand slam, no that's for sure."

The interviewer immediately reaches out to Serena's upper arm/shoulder three times in rapid succession (1:59, 2:00, 2:02) - yet she stops short of touching Ms. Williams. Had this not been so public an interview (and not televised), the interviewer may have made contact. Such invasion of personal space (intimate space) is very often down-regulated (inhibited) in public settings. Indeed this phenomenon is a platonic/professional analog of what many people have - an aversion toward public displays of affection (e.g., " No PDAs").

It may even be true that the interviewer and Ms. Williams are best of friends - yet in a public setting a different set of rules apply regarding making direct body contact. For while touching a shoulder in a more private setting would build rapport - in a public setting rapport is often destroyed.

This gesture toward Serena, even though not directly touching her - nonverbally signifies a question retraction and an apology.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3243: Bryan Cranston's Body Language at the 2015 Comic-Con

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2448:  Sabine Lisicki Post Match Interview  After Defeating Serena Williams  Top Teeth Biting Lower Lip & Sincere Smiles

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3238: Ex-Footballer Sol Campbell, the Mayor of London and a Some Classic Body Language 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3115: Giuliana Rancic apologizes to Zendaya Coleman comment made regarding her dreadlocks at the Oscars - that she "smells like patchouli oil and weed" on "Fashion Police" - Is She Sincere? 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3234: Whole Foods Market, Message to Customers, Damage Control and Body Language Faux Pas 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3236: A Common Body Language Disparity Display - Donald Trump