Sunday, March 19, 2017

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3883: Donald Trump Greets Angela Merkel at The White House - The Handshakes and Mistakes - Body Language and Emotional Intelligence (PHOTOS)

These images capture the first few seconds after President Trump greeted Chancellor Merkel during her recent visit to the White House. And although it was not nearly as "newsy" as his snubbing of her handshake in the Oval Office - or the expression she shot back at him after his "Forced Teaming" with his alleged wiretapping reference of, "... at least we have something in common ...", this moment provides several important body language lessons.

Of course, there are cultures who bow when greeting each other, yet that is not the case in modern Europe or North America (with the exceptions of certain religious ceremonies or royalty). With that in mind, most astute observers will note that it's the unfortunate habit of many taller men to bend forward during handshakes with individuals of shorter stature. When this nonverbal behavior is directed toward another man - it often projects condescending and patronizing emotions. Moreover, when a taller man (Trump is 6'1" or 1.85 meters) bends forward during a handshake with a woman (Merkel is 5'5" or 1.65 meters) - this dynamic projects an additional misogynistic message.

Politicians of all parties often will often grab the elbow, upper arm, or shoulder of the other person during handshakes. This is an example of an alpha power display - although often it's rationalized as an affectionate gesture (both to oneself and outwardly to others). Trump and Merkel don't know each other very well - thus this would not only be a "False Affection Display" - but it's also indicative of narcissism.

Notice too that Donald Trump pulls Angela Merkel's close to his lower chest. This component of his handshake is somewhat improved compared with some of other recent ones, e.g., Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and his Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch - but he still leaves a lot of room for improvement. Not only do people find the pulling of their arm created by such an action quite uncomfortable (even painful) - it frequently throws them off balance (as occurred with Judge Gorsuch). Moreover, this behavior is strongly correlated with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Additionally, men who have a pattern of shaking women's hand in this manner - by the pulling (rather than shaking) of her hand-arm close to his chest - tend to also objectify women, treating them as property/objects to be controlled/used rather than as another sentient and deserving being.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3881: Donald Trump Snubs Angela Merkel's Handshake in Oval Office

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3882: Donald Trump to Angela Merkel During Press Conference, "At least we have something in common"

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3846: Donald Trump, Shinzō Abe and Handshake Faux Pas

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3836: President Trump nominates Judge Neil Gorsuch for The Supreme Court

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3864: Uber's CEO, Travis Kalanick Arguing with an Uber Driver regarding Falling Fares - Escalation v. De-Escalation, Body Language and Emotional Intelligence

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3843: 84 Lumber Super Bowl Ad - "The Entire Journey"

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3594: Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump and Fareed Zakaria

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3820: Mr. Trump: "Who would you trust more, Angela Merkel or Vladimir Putin?"