Patti Wood MA, CSP. Speaker Body Language Expert Blog
Body Language Expert, Professional Speaker, Author, Media Authority, Spokes Person, Corporate Consultant, Trainer and Coach.
Patti speaks to Fortune 500 Companies, Associations, and Universities on: Body Language, Deception Detection, Selling, Interviewing, Public Speaking, First Impressions, Conflict Management and more.
She also consults with Law Enforcement and the Media on the Body Language of Celebrities, Politicians and Suspects.
Book Patti to speak at her website Patti@PattiWood.net
As a body language expert and the former spokesperson for
PupPeroni Dog Treats I have studied human and dog body language for many years.
A head tilt in a dog can be a sign of submission. A dog’s head can
be held even and high to show power and confidence. Even and balanced to show
neutrality. When the dog’s head tilt is extreme, that is when the neck is
exposed and the head is down really far, it is a signal to dogs or people they
perceive as Alpha that, “You are more powerful and I bare my neck to show you
that you could bite me and take me down in a fight.”
It can also be a signal of submission, “I don’t understand what
you want, Pet Parent.” This signal is tied to their desire to understand what
you, their pet parent, desire. When compared with other animals, a dog’s
ability to "read” humans is highly accurate. Dogs try very hard to figure
out what we want and please us. Dogs pick up information from the subtlest hand
gestures and even understand the meaning of a human glance and other facial
expressions and vocal variations. Researchers believe that over centuries
there’s been direct selection for dogs with the ability to read social cues in
humans, highlighting its importance. They are actually more accurate at reading
human body language than chimpanzees.
A dog shows his confidence and openness to interact by standing
1. Head high, Ears up
2. Mouth open
3. Posture relaxed, loose legs stance, weight flat on his paws
Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com. Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.
Looking back on past Oscars, was Adrien Brody’s
understandable elation in 2003 for just having won Best Actor for “The Pianist”
justification for his planting a long, powerful, passionate kiss on Halle Berry, who
was presenting the award? (Watch the video; Berry looks stunned—and not
happily. Creepily, Brody tops off his kiss by telling her, “I bet they didn’t
tell you that was in the gift bag.”)
Of course, you might say, oh please, it’s
Hollywood, it’s all entertainment and titillation. But according to some
experts, male-on-female touching is still driven by male obliviousness toward
personal-space boundaries and toward issues of power, even in a
limelight-drenched setting. “I
did years of sexual harrassment training,” says body-language expert Patti Wood. "The
problem was that guys didn’t know they were doing something wrong and the only
thing that worked was when women told them, ‘I don’t like that—stop.’ All the
men who got word stopped immediately. Women thought the nonverbal messages they
were giving, such as leaning away or tensing, was enough, but it wasn’t."
Of course, when you’re live
on TV in front of an estimated 34.6 million viewers, saying “stop” can be hard to do. And
that’s where issues of power, not just “silly fun,” come into the picture.
Referring to Travolta’s cupping Menzel’s face in his hand, Wood says, “That gesture usually
connotes to someone that they are really precious to you, but it’s also
something a parent does to a child. It’s a way of saying ‘I’m more powerful
than you.’” So for Travolta to do that to Menzel when she was sending him up
for last year’s gaffe suggested it was “a bizarre, passive-aggressive way to
quiet her,” says Wood.
So what are the do’s and
don’ts of man-on-woman public touching? There are none, says etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore. “It
all depends on your relationship with the person and on the situation,” she
says. Biden’s touching the defense secretary’s wife as he did was out of
bounds, says Whitmore, because the swearing-in was “a business, not a social,
situation, with cameras running.”
But is an awards ceremony a business situation?
“That’s a gray area,” she says. “They’re there to party, but then again,
they’re viewed as role models and people are watching.”
And the message people may be taking away is,
if men feel entitled to touch women in such a proprietary manner before the
whole world, what must many men still feel entitled to do in an unobserved
setting? It’s especially
confusing now that millennials have brought hugging from high school into work
settings, says Wood, who suggests that both men and women restrict touch in
work settings to the classic handshake and, if they feel compelled to express
warmth or bonding after having gotten to know someone, go no further than
brief, light fingertips to the elbow or forearm. “That’s the safe zone,” she
John Travolta earned himself a spot in an
already circulating Kanye West meme.
And Kanye West, who is famous for following his
own code of conduct recently posed at the Grammys with both hands squarely on the notorious, Gaultier-clad booty of his wife,
Kim Kardashian— much as he once publicly squeezed the butt of Amber
Rose, now his ex. “There’s
been way more men’s hands on women’s butts in photos the past ten years,” notes
Wood. “A few years ago, you’d only do that to a prostitute, not your mate.
There was a taboo, because that touch said that sex to the rear was probably
going on in the relationship. But now people almost think it’s charming.”
rule, there, says Wood: Make sure that woman whose butt your grabbing in that
photo is your wife or girlfriend—and make sure she’s okay with it.
People Watching a Couple in their 70’s Love at Any Age
My former fiancé and I used to people watch together and
we'd watch couples and family members and make up stories about them.
One day we saw a couple in their 70s and they were so gentle
and tentative with each other. The gentleman helped her to the table. He took
out her chair for her and helped her sit down. They seemed so sweet and caring
of one another. As they ate, they couldn't keep their eyes off each other. They would reach across the table to touch as
they talked. It was quite beautiful to watch. We wondered how a couple that had
been together so many years could be so sweet to each other. Then, we couldn't help ourselves,and had to go over and introduce
ourselves to the couple. We found out that they were actually on a first date. They
had known each other peripherally for years and we're finally going out.
It reminds me that you could have love and tenderness at any
age and you should never give up searching and trying for love.
I visit my mother in her assisted living facility. One day I
saw an entire family get out of the van and help their mother/grandmother get
out of the van. They all needed to help and they all needed to touch her and
they all wanted to talk to her and hug her one last time. They weren't in
a hurry, they didn't just stay in the car and watch her get out. They didn't rush off like so many families
do. It reminded me to slow down when I'm with my mother to take care and linger
in our love.
Every week when I fly home back to Atlanta I eavesdrop on
people being greeted by their families and I listen to their voices and I watch
them reach out their arms kiss, hug and show their love. It's amazing and reminds
me how sweet, fabulous and wonderful love is.
This has happened a lot but I'll tell you about one
I was watching a businessman come down the aisle of the plane
looking like a weary soldier.
He seemed really exhausted and overwhelmed as he sat
down and as we flew the three hours from Albuquerque to Atlanta he worked on his computer, getting out receipts
and opening up excel spread sheets and going through tons of emails. He was
working really hard, but it was clear from his slumped shoulders and
turtle in his shell head he was beat. Then as soon as our plane landed he got out his cell phone
and got on the phone with his little girl and was transformed. He talked in the most enthusiastic and loving voice
and his shoulders came back and his head came up. He lit up with joy as he listened to his daughter and responded to her with such
generosity of spirit. It was an amazing thing to witness.
Now here is something amazing. I have seen business men do
this a least two dozen times on my weekly flights. As soon as they land after a long flight they get out their phone to call their loved ones. It reminds me of the power of love to
transform us and I hope it also reminds you that you communicate with your actions. If your first thought
getting home is to call your family,
you are putting the most important part of
your life first.