Saturday, December 31, 2016

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3803: A Common Gesture of Donald Trump's - Variation on Alpha-Beta Hybrids - Body Language and Emotional Intelligence (PHOTOS)

Donald Trump uses a particular hand-arm gesture much more frequently that almost anyone else you will see. Indeed, you may never recall seeing this specific nonverbal signal before (as it is relatively unusual to rare).

When all of the fingers are extended during any hand gesture (in nonverbal nomenclature, this is an example of an "Illustrator"), in general (although there are exceptions), it is considerably more alpha in nature. Simply by flexing his forefinger (aka index finger) - which is the most dominant (or alpha) of all the digits - the President-Elect then transforms the gesture into one that is less alpha - and thus more beta.

This is one of many examples of what is known as an "Alpha-Beta Hybrid" - not high alpha nor extreme beta, but somewhere in between. It's profoundly helpful to be well acquainted with many Alpha-Beta Hybrids - as such intermediate body language is not only more commonly used than the alpha or beta ends of the continuum, but they are much more useful when trying to establish rapport and influence.

The three examples shown in this post, illustrate a further nuance within this particular alpha-beta hybrid family.

The nonverbal display pictured above (Example A) is the furthest toward the beta end of the "Alpha-Beta Spectrum". There are three reasons for this:

1. The palm is directed (mostly) upward
2. Donald Trump's upper arm is held close to his torso
3. His upper arm is in same plane as his torso
4. Mr. Trump's hand is held relatively lower (partially related to the position of his upper arm)

This next image (Example B) represents a relative intermediate in this alpha-beta family spectrum. Note the changes:

1. The palm is directed (mostly) vertically (relatively perpendicular to the floor)
2. Mr. Trump's upper arm is a bit further from his torso relative to Example A (It is useful to
    think of the position of the elbow, and in this second photo it's further from his torso)
3. The upper arm remains within the plane of the torso
4. His hand is held relatively higher versus Example A

As we see here in Example C:

1. Donald Trump's palm is directed downward. Palm-down gestures are significantly more alpha
    compared with palm-up gestures.
2. His upper arm is significantly further from his torso - much further than with A or B
3. Mr. Trump's upper arm is no longer within the same plane as his torso - but vectored forward
4. His hand is even higher than either A or B

Summary: When taken in isolation, all three of these examples have approximately the same hand configuration (e.g., They reside in the same alpha-beta hybrid nonverbal family). Yet when any of the following changes occur, the gesture grows increasingly alpha, more dominant and projects greater authority and power:

1. The orientation of the hand is progressively directed downward
2. The upper arm is held further from the torso
3. The upper arm is directed forward (not in the same plane as the torso or backward)
4. The elevation of the hand is increased

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3802: Amanda Nunes, Ronda Rousey and UFC 207 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3800: Houston Rocket's Chinanu Onuaku Shooting Underhanded ("Granny Style") Free Throws (and His Teammates' responses) 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3798: Elle Fanning, Channing Tatum and Dialing Up the Alpha 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3782: Zoey Deutch, Ryan Seacrest and Embarrassment

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3743: Ronda Rousey's Anxiety - Anticipating Her Next Fight

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3537: Stephen Colbert, Reince Priebus and a Flubbed Monologue

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3645: Miss Teen USA's Apology - Is She Sincere?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3635: Michelle Obama's DNC Speech and a Body Language Mistake