Why Bush Smirks
"In observing our president's expressions over the years, I became aware of a feature of George Bush's face that revealed more about his inner self than anything issuing forth from his mouth. President Bush has a disconnect between the right side and the left side of his face. While the right side of his mouth and the corner of his right eyes portray a smile, the left side of his mouth and the corners of his left eye convey a scowl.
The result is a twisted smirk that has become his trademark expression. As a vascular surgeon who has operated on carotid arteries to the brain, I have long been interested in the opposing functions performed by the two hemispheres of the human brain. All vertebrates, from fish to fowl have a bi-lobed brain. Each half, with few exceptions, is a mirror image of the other both in appearance and function.
The organization of the human brain when compared to other vertebrate brains occupies the extreme edge of the bell shaped curve. Although the halves of our brain appear identical, each hemisphere is functionally different. The left-brain in right-handed people (and the majority of left- handers, too,) is the seat of language, logic, and one-at-a-time mental faculties that require a sense of linearity, sequence, and time.
In contrast, the right hemisphere excels at holistic thinking and the all-at-once recognition of gestalts and patterns, especially faces; all primarily spatial functions.
Most individual can coordinate both of their hemispheres to produce a symmetrical smile or frown. George Bush seems unable to accomplish this feat in his unguarded moments or when he becomes agitated. His lopsided smirk reveals an inner disconnectedness between the two sides of his brain. And the left sided scowl, and glaring left eye provides a more accurate window into his soul and psyche than does his smiling right. I would further speculate that this disconnect evident in his facial expression might have something to do with the president's unprecedented syntactical mangling of the English language. Sentences inarticulately constructed often belie a disordering of thought processes.
Psychologists have studied the phenomenon of the split face for many years and have accumulated a reservoir of studies that conclusively indicate that the expression of the left side of an individual's face is far more revealing concerning their emotional state than is their whole face.
The next time George Bush appears on television observe the left side of his face only and you will obtain a truer picture of what is in his heart than can be garnered by taking in the gestalt of his entire face. It would appear that not only has George Bush polarized the electorate as no other president in recent history has, but he also has polarized brain hemispheres."
Leonard Shlain is the author of Art & Physics, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, and Sex, Time and Power; all of which contain the subtheme concerning the differences between the hemispheres of the brain.
Now recent research supports the matching hypothesis. Though the original yawner may yawn because they are tired and or lack oxyegen, the matcher, yawns back out of kindness. Steven Platek, a reserch professor bio medical science at Drexel University in Philadelphia did resarch empthy. He found highly emphathetic people could not help but match someone's yawn. You may notice this in Gorillas and great apes at the zoo as well. (Not quite a case of monkey see monkey do, more like gorilla see gorilla do.)
So next time someone matches your yawn, you will know they are a nice empathetic person. You might want to fake a yawn today, just to see if how much people care!
Many of you know that I read photo for the media. Here is a recent photo analysis that I did for a client. To get the photo email me or sign up for the free newsletter.
While I do not know who these people on the red carpet are, it’s a very interesting photo. Several body gestures show the attractive man’s confidence. Dare I say, debonair! He's almost cocky for being at this Red Carpet event.
His stance is wide with his toes pointed out. His hand on his hip with elbow jutted far out and are significantly high which makes his right shoulder come up and his right hip jut out. The hip, elbow and shoulder gesture cluster and create a slightly sexual come hither posture. He also has a big smile on his face with cheeks significantly pulled back and up. Also, he has taken the time to take his sunglasses off and that would have covered his eyes and face and made him less recognizable. All of these gestures cluster to create a “Look at me aren’t I hot” pose.
Now look at his left leg and foot. The leg is stretched out in front farther than would be comfortably normal and the leg and foot effectively block or protect the woman with him. The slender attractive woman is standing slightly behind him in what I call an overlap position. She is leaning slightly in to him in the overlap, while his weight is away from her on his back right foot. This overlap shows she wishes to be seen as a part of him, while his focus is on being seen by the cameras as in charge and “singular”.
Her shoulders are down her right hand is behind him and perhaps she is holding on to him, this combined with her position behind him and her body orientation specifically, the body turned to him, feet close to his and pointed towards him show her desire to have him protect her. Her fear or anxiety is also emphasized by the arm and hand gesture cluster. She has her left arm and her shawl protectively over the front of her body and her hand hidden. In addition, the lowered eyelids, squinted eyes as well as the stiffness and tightness around the mouth show anxiety. Perhaps, aided by too much glare from the sun or the hundreds of flashing cameras at red carpet events.
Take note of how people respond when you step into their workspaces. Do they smile, make eye contact and turn towards you or keep their hands on the computer keyboard, without turning towards you? Do they seem to cringe and stiffen their posture when you enter.
Busy body language is fine to get once in awhile from your employees, but if it is habitual take note. They are sending you a message. You may be interrupting them when they are in flow, you may be checking up on them too much, or only visiting them when you need somthing or have bad news. Employees and coworkers will get tense when they feel they can’t predict your behavior, or if they assoicate your "visit's" with negatives.
Ask yourself if you’re only face-to-face time when you’re giving negative information or instruction, it might be time to try something different.
Visit with good news or bring in bagels once a week, hang out in the conference room and talk about nothing in particular. If you’re managing people in the fiel or only see people in meeting make it point on your first call to them or first meeting to take extra time for visiting and small talk before you go into the typical work,
“…This is what I need from you.” mode. If you don’t know what small talk is appropriate ask for positive such as, “What’s the best thing you did over the weekend?”, or “What’s your favorite thing on TV lately?”
Small talk is a totally different speed of communication and creates different vocal pacing, facial expressions and body movements, and that easy pacing helps build relationships.”
I know that some people hate anyone comming into talk to them for any reason and think visiting is a waste of time. Disntinguish between those who do and those who do not need "relationship credits" to do their best work.
Ellen did a monologue yesterday about body language were she talked about some fun things she had seen on the Discovery Channel. One of the things she talked about was the eyebrow flash. We briefly flash our eyebrows upward when we come towards someone, usually at about 7 to fourteen feet, to show we are friendly and not going to attack. If someone does an eyebrow flash to us as we are walking down the sidewalk towards us it usually means they aren’t going to bring out their Uzi when we get closer? In slightly raising your eyebrows as you glance at someone you are signaling that you are safe and approachable. So it is a nice flirting cue. It says, I see you, if you come over here I will talk to you and probably won’t bite.
Ellen also talked about playing with your hair. That can be a flirting cue for a women to use to attract a man. The secret it is to be light and playful, flipping your hair back once, maybe twice while showing the palm of your hand. Men are hunters and our eyes are designed to go towards movement so the hair flipping draws their eyes towards you. If your hair is shiny and bouncy, the movement of the hair can also show that your hair is health. Healthy hair is primal mating signal. It shows that you have good hair genes and are likely to create healthy babies with great hair. Finally showing the palm of the hand signals that you are vulnerable, that is not holding a weapon, and open and to approach. Make sure you do not twist and tug at your hair or touch it repeatedly which can signal fear or nervousness and can simply make you look desperate.
Standing with your legs apart is a good cue for guys as a broad stance of 10 t 12 inches makes your silhouette look larger and more powerful. Making you look like you could protect the women and have good strong genes for baby making. It is not the best way for a woman who wants to be approached to stand as it creates a male silhouette. I hate that, because standing with your legs closer together in say the 4 to 6 inches apart that is a stereotypical female stance does not make you feel or look powerful. Unfortunately, power is not always appealing to a guy. Hummm, I know this but I just keep giving off the power cues lately.
We talked about the problems of communicating internationally in the three day interpersonal skills workshop I am leading this week. One of the other issues that came up was the lack of small talk. If your doing everything by e-mail, and your feeling constantly rushed and overwhelmed your tendancey is not even to do a normal salutation, just a, "...I need this now."
I suggest you consider time problems and,in at least in your Monday e-mails, spend a few lines asking people how their weekend was, what good things have been going on in their lives ect. You can small talk via e-mail and we need the cushion of interpersonal communication to smooth out the rough spots in our work-a-day lives.
We also need to be aware that E-mails were not designed to send emotional messages. The internet was designed to send information, not emotions. It is so tempting at work to blast off a message via e-mail, without dealing with that messy human contact. But, if you’re in your office and you have a message laced with intense feeling to send to someone, go talk to them!! If over 80 percent of the meaning of the message is sent through nonverbal communication your simple e-mail that has no nonverbal communication will often be misinterpreted.
Finally, we sometimes blast off an email so we can say to ourselves, "That's taken care of." In truth, it may not be. Because you do not see the person get your message, understand it and respond to emotionally you really do not know if it taken care of. Follow up, at least occasionally with a phone call, a stop in the hallway or an office visit to make sure the receiver, really, "got" the message.
There are two things that are important about this practice. One is that you make significant eye—contact with your loved one so that they feel, “seen” the other is that your face shows the joy you feel in seeing them enter the room. Let me talk about ‘Seeing” them in today’s blog. When I was sixteen I was, as I am now a voracious reader. I read a book by philosopher Eric Fromme on love called the “The Art of Loving." These many many years later I still remember how Fromme defined love as feeling seen. I remember thinking it would be that the person who loves you looks at you in way they makes you feel human and divine at the same time. That you wouldn’t feel invisible. As I grew up I realized that we often feel invisible in are love relationships with family or sweeties. So today, make real eye-contact with the people you love. See them for the wondrous people that they are.
"Stephen is symbolically stepping on Paul," "You can almost see the movement, see it happening. And it's in combination with his hand position I would love to know what was said." "In that particular foot positioning,the toe would normally go down. But it's both up and facing slightly toward the former PM -- that is very telling. And that hand motion is a power motion. It's not done a lot, unless you're Italian or maybe Arabian or during public speaking, where you bring your hand flat down like that. It's done when you're admonishing somebody and when you're very emphatic about a point.""there isn't equality between the two of them. One feels much more in a position of power." Martin, looks as if "he's the one losing this negotiation or losing something in this interaction." She gives the former PM a toe-to-head reading. "He's doing a very unusual 'locked cross' with his feet. They're so twisted shut, which shows a very strong need to protect himself against attack. The way he has his legs positioned is also unusual. He's pressing them together, which is protection, and has them angled to create a wall between him and the new Prime Minister. The legs pressed together is very symbolic -- that's a man afraid of being kicked in the . . . . "
Wood says it's the lower part of a person's body that is most honest, because it's "under less conscious control." And while she feels Martin's doing a slightly better job of relaxing up top, there are a couple of other indications of "his need to protect and slight feelings of aggression." Like his right hand. A relaxed person's hand will fall much closer to the knee than Martin's does. "The elbow and the arm are about four to six inches further back on the leg than normal," says Wood. "His shoulder is raised up, showing tension and a need to retreat backwards." And there's the loose fist -- "it's more defensive than aggressive." The same can be said of his facial expression. "If you look at his mouth position," says Wood, "he has his bottom lip and his chin jutted out slightly -- again that's defensiveness, pouty defensiveness." From one picture, Wood comes up with the following personality assessment of Martin: "The posture and facial expression are so vulnerable, almost like a lack of maturity -- I wonder if he was very emotional when he was in power, if he had outbursts?"
She finds Harper doesn't give off as many "body language cues," and his face isn't revealing -- perhaps lending credence to the robot theory? But her overall impression is that he's "attractive and confident." He crosses his legs in a way that gives him more height, and his shoulders and face are relaxed. But she warns that the outside world may be put off by someone with so much power having such youthful features. And Wood, who gives workshops on how to improve body language, has some suggestions. "I would say that the new Prime Minister be a better listener and more empathetic. He also might be too consumed with image." Having also studied the photo of Harper shaking hands with his son after dropping him off at school, Wood concludes: "He should be a little more aware of being more real."
She spent a great deal of the speech talking about her alcoholic ex husband, "aka. 'The Rat'" and the horrible life she had with him.
I was fascinated by the long drawn out pauses the author gave before she was about to reveal some horrific aspect of her life. I was fascinated, because during the pause their would be a flash of pain across her face then a small smile would play there as her head tilted up and she shared the terrible incident. What where her true feelings? I think she was reliving the tremendous pain of her past, then enjoying the fact that she could share that pain, in fact I think she even enjoyed reliving the pain. Nonverbally she seemed to enjoy sharring it, not merly for us to apprieciate her marterdom for living through, it, but by somhow she simply seemed to receive pure pleasure from expressing it. She ended her speech, rather oddly, by singing the Janice Iain song about the painful adolescence of an ugly duckling, “At Seventeen”
Perhaps my deduction was not difficult to make as she would often share a success, such as the flying in her lire jet, or having over 37 novels published, just after sharing a painful story. She affected my friends differently. All of us had had experiences dealing with alcoholics, yet some of us felt moved and effected by her presentation, and others felt that she was manipulating us, by asking us to feel sorry for her and then envy her a moment later.
Why am I blogging about this? Well I think the whole process of sharing our past pain, and what the lie detector test of of nonverbal communication reveals as we do this, is interesting. And any time I am deeply affected by someone’s nonverbal behavior and find myself judging it, I ask myself what I can learn from it. So her behavior made me examine the way I share my past pains and current successes. I started to ask myself this weekend what my motivations are for sharring a story.
I am going to continure to examine my own body language as I share a past injustice, generally whine and complain, or just plain brag about a success.
Every human interaction is a chance to hold up mirror and reflect. What will the mirror show you?
As a body language expert and media and political coach I am passionate about speaking with honesty and credibility. I discussed in a previous post how delay in speaking was a nonverbal communicator let me explore the actual interview.
In a televised interview granted exclusively to Fox News Channel, four days after the shooting, Vice President Dick Cheney spoke. He was looking down and to the right before making his main statements. When people look down and the right they are accessing their kinesthetic (feeling/body sense) and they usually have more skin color. Cheney, however, was very pale and drawn. They generally have a lower, slower voice tone which Cheney maintained through the interview. They gesture down by their middle or stomach; point to their heart or put their hand over their heart. Cheney did not gesture. They breathe low and deep in the abdomen... Cheney seemed to have trouble breathing. Cheney seemed emotional, but the emotions were about his pain rather than empathetic pain for his injured friend. That is even more apparent as Cheney discusses it as one of the worst days of his life. I imagine it was the single worst day of the guy he shot, his friend Harry’s life.
As he looked down and to the right he said, "Ultimately, I'm the guy who pulled the trigger that fired the round that hit Harry”. In a Rhetorical Analysis I am immediately struck by how long it took him to get to the admission. It sounds like that children’s nursery rhyme that goes;
This is the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.
Look at the limiters he used, ultimately, pulled the trigger that fired the round that hit Harry. His first and most important sentence should have been something like, "I shot Harry". Not, “I pulled the trigger, that shot the round…that milked the cow. That lay in the house that Jack Built..."
He then says again looking down and to the right, "And you can talk about all of the other conditions that existed at the time, but that's the bottom line". He starts with a condition, then says. "..but that’s the bottom line." He shouldn’t have even discussed the conditions in that way. He could have made a statement of facts. That is, told the story in a factual way and said the conditions, but saying it this way made it sound like he thought the conditions were, in fact an excuse.
He had a beer at lunch, hunters should not drink. The risk is too high for accidents. Drinking affects your body language. Cheney said. "It was not Harry's fault. You can't blame anybody else." This seems like an almost bizarre statement isolated from the factual story. And if you know hunting rules, it is always the shooter's fault. Whittington went to retrieve a bird and then walked toward Cheney without announcing his presence. But, Cheney, if he followed hunting rules, should have noted that a hunting partner is out in the shooting target range. A State Parks and Wildlife Department report concluded: "While he was out of the hunting line, another covey was flushed and Cheney swung on a bird and fired, striking Whittington," about 30 yards away. That’s incredibly close. "I turned and shot at the bird, and at that second saw Harry standing there. Didn't know he was there", Cheney said. "I saw him fall, basically. It had happened so fast."
In the Chicago Tribune yesterday, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania was quoted as saying, “… Cheney's violation of the basic rule that a hunter verify the target and what is beyond it before pulling the trigger, as well as his lack of a $7 unpaid bird stamp on his Texas hunting license."
My friend Shane was shot by a young boy who was handed a gun, and in fact held a gun for the first time on that day. The boy was given three minutes of instruction. The boy did not know how to shoot responsibly. Obviously Cheney made a lot of mistakes in his dissemination of the information about the shooting, but the true mistake, the thing that matters, is he was irresponsible in his hunting and shot his friend.
I just watched the first interview with our Vice President talking about the hunting accident. Remember the Vice President's friend was shot in the face and chest.
In law enforcement, the longer it takes for the "suspect" to come forward to talk, the higher the probability of guilt. In Public Relations, the longer the person takes to make a public announcement of the facts of an incident, the more the public believes, truly or falsely, that the person is guilty and has done something they want or feel they need to hide. And finally, in politics the public feels that a powerful figure they voted into office is responsible to the public and should give them the facts of an incident as soon as possible. Yet, the Vice President waited four days to be interviewed on the Republican leaning Fox News, rather than make a public statement immediately.
Time is a nonverbal communicator, and in this particular case involving Dick Cheney, I believe that delay communicates fear, a lack or honor, and desire to not take full responsibility for his actions. I will blog more nonverbal and rhetorical analysis of the Fox interview about the shooting later today. For now, I'm off to coach a client in public speaking.
By Patti Wood MA, CSP
The Gold Standard of Body Language Experts
I wake up with a stomach ache the day after thanksgiving. I lie in bed thinking I shouldn’t have eaten that third turkey sandwich. My stomach burns. It’s the middle of the night and the house is dark. I definitely need an antacid and need to go downstairs to get one. I get up out of bed. I consider turning on the lights, but leave them off knowing that once I turn on lights I won’t be able to go back to sleep. The ambient light from the city shinning through the windows should be enough. I take two steps down the stairs I trip. I tumble over head first and feel a horrible pain and fall the rest of the way down the stairs and land sprawled half way into the kitchen.
The pain is excruciating I start to pass out I push to stay conscious. My dog Bo appears in front of me and for the first time without a doggie treat inducement he goes into a perfect sit. I am amused but I don’t think the dog whisper uses the falling down the stairs means “Sit!” technique. I try to get up, but a wave of pain and nausea hits me again and I fight to stay conscious. Oh my god I think, “I have fallen and I can’t get UP!” I crawl on my knees and one elbow towards the phone. Moving inch by inch I reach it. My right hand is hanging twisted and limp like a rag doll and dial 911 with my left finger. The phone rings and rings, but nobody answers. I am afraid I will pass out before anyone picks up. Then I remember that my neighbor is a doctor. My frequent casseroles delivered to his bachelor pad prompted him to say if I ever needed him to call. I needed him, but I don’t know his number. I am close to the kitchen door I manage to reach up and open it and crawl outside and across the lawn to his house.
This is the beginning of my falling down the stairs adventure. An adventure, because like an explorer climbing Mt Everest learns so much about himself, about life, about what makes living important from climbing up a mountain I learned so much about my self, about life, about what makes living important from falling down the stairs.
Oddly enough the multiple trips to the emergency room, the doctor visits the, the scare that I would loose the use of my hand, the physical pain where not the source of my learning. I had certainly been to emergency rooms before, sat in doctors offices and even suffered more intense pain and longer bouts of both physical and physiological pain in my life. And I know many people would see my tumble as a mere bump in life, really not much of anything at all compared other injuries and life threatening illness.
But learning takes place when you are ready to learn and this adventure, small as it was, took place after I had spent two years of the most intensive traveling in my 25 year career. And the accidents resultant injuries caused a forced stillness and a lack of ability to work at my frantic pace. The injuries from the accident where minor, a broken wrist, torn ligaments and tendons, in both wrists, and left ankle, a bruised hip and irritated vertebra in my neck. But they made it painfully difficult to even take care of myself in the same way. So this adventure was my learning time.
It seems odd that not being able to use one hand and having limited use of the other could make everything so hard. Put those minor injuries meant I had to learn to open my dog’s dinner cans with my left elbow and chin, not eat anything frozen or packaged in plastic that required a knife or scissors to open or that I could not open with my teeth. Until, my left hand got strong enough not eats any food that had to be cut up to eat. Every thing to time. Slow focused effort and something I didn’t know I had enormous patience. Instead of talking on the phone to family or friend while fixing dinner, unloading the dishwasher and having part of mind occupied with my massive list of to do’s I could only cook. Slowly opening a drawer jiggle by jiggle with on hand. Opening the fridge carefully and painfully. Eating with a fork or spoon with my left hand each bite was an awkward and frustrating chore.
When I finally could get on the computer it was to type very very slowly and very very badly with one finger. Just answering emails took hours and the Emails became so cryptic that I am sure clients wished for secret decoder rings to decipher them. I showered slowly with one arm held up in a plastic baggie. To dry my hair. I set the dryer on the toilet and sat on the floor aiming my head towards it. I couldn’t hold a book and turn the pages. It even e hurt to change the channels on TV channel changer so I watched a single show all the way through! By the end of the day to effort to do simple little things left me bathed in sweat. But there was a gift in this.
Everything slowed down and became a meditation. After three weeks of doing things slowly one at a time, with out being able to drive, only leaving the house for speaking engagements, I felt calmer and more centered and strangely happier than I have been in a long time. This was my first lesson.
When life is frantic and faced paced. Resist the urge to do many things quickly. Do one thing at time and do it slowly and thoughtfully.
This not only gave me yoga serenity, but I lost 12 pounds!
You noticed that I said I left the house for speaking engagements. It may seem contrary that I was in all that pain and had all those limitations and I was out speaking. If you’re a speaker, or indeed a workaholic working under such circumstances probably doesn’t surprise you. Speakers have a, “The show must go on!” mentality.” Like every speaker out there I have spoken under horrible circumstances. I knew I could deal with that part of me that wanted to cry, take a pain pill, lie down and have a pity party. In fact I knew that some of the most incredible, heart wide open, speaking experience’s of my career occurred when I was suffering internally, but the audience didn’t know it and we created an incredible connection. But in these weeks, I was wrapped in a cast and sling slightly bent over and limping. My injury was visible. Would visible problems make the audience respond in ways I didn’t want? My worries started when my friends said, “Oh, your audiences will be so forgiving of your speaking; you can get away with anything.” And “Oh, lucky you, the audience will be so good to you because they will feel sorry for you.” I knew that it was not the audience’s job to give me a break. And that is not what I wanted. I was there to serve them. To be the strong expert resource and energizing force in the room. But would they let me do that? Would they listen to me and give me respect? I went off to each speech my little blonde smiling, arm in a cast, limping self, and waited to see what happened. Not only didn’t it matter to them, but they expected me to be in charge. Heck, they still let me carry my stuff, put my materials on the walls and move tables and chairs! And by the way I could have used some help moving the tables with one hand! I learned my second lesson.
People will treat you like a victim only if you choose to act like a victim.
As I started to get out in the world more. Going to the grocery store and the bank some people would notice me and ask if I needed help or just help me, other people would act like I was invisible or worse yet, a slow moving nuisance. I thought how many times I have seen people slam the door in the face of my elderly mother or pushed past my mother in an isle or restaurant and she moved awkwardly with her walker. As I recovered some of my friends where so very kind. One took me to the store, Another gave me a ride home from a speech, one brought over Chinese, and another brought bags of comfort food, another came over to open jars and empty the trash and one, went above and beyond taking me to the emergency room at 3 in the morning. Other friends where busy with their lives and some busy with their own pain. Each time someone was kind, stranger or friend, I asked myself how many times I had been kind to others. I felt so good remembering, because I knew now how good getting kindness felt. But each time someone was rude or didn’t take the time to care, I asked myself how many times I had been rude or had been to busy with my pain to show a little care and kindness. As I remembered I was ashamed. I learned a third lesson.
Notice the opportunity for a little act of kindness. No matter how busy or troubled your life is– What you give out good or bad will be returned to you.
I had a neighbor come over to cut the sleeves out of some sweatshirts for me so I had something to wear the night after the accident. (Yes the accident also gave me the gift f a new and stylish sweat shift wardrobe.) My neighbor, started to talk to me about how she knew that small acts of kindness mattered. They had mattered to her when other people helped her through her husband’s slow and painful long term illness and death. She said, that’s a long story, and I, arm propped up on pillows dog sitting on my feet, said, “I have all the time in the world. She sat down and told me her story and we hugged and cried when she was through. It was a wonderfully close and intimate moment. And I was so happy she could share her story with me.
As time passed I had so many people share their accident stories with me so my people tell about their recovery from illness. I had learned at other times in my life that your pain can make others open up to you. It happened in college when my dad died and the year my best friend was dieing. I knew that when you are at your most vulnerable people feel safe making themselves vulnerable to you. But this time I listened differently. I was not so caught up in my pain that I couldn’t hear their need. This time I revealed in it. I saw the gift that vulnerability gives you. I reveled in the opportunity to see to through the protective bravado to someone’s very heart. This was my favorite lesson.
When you are vulnerable people have the chance to open their hearts to you. Enjoy the view. Enjoy the gift of intimacy that pain can bring into your life.
Little by little I am gaining back my abilities. The first I the day I could put on my favorite post earrings after weeks of naked ears I called my sister and said, “I am now fully accessorized! Just before I got in the car to drive for the first time I called to thank my friend who had installed the knob on the steering wheel so I could drive with one hand. And I smiled the whole traffic filled ride to the store. When the cast came off and my arms where strong enough to hold a drier and a brush I looked in the mirror glad to finally have a good hair day At physical therapy last week I actually yelled, “Hurray!” when I could bend down my forefinger down and make it touch my thumb in an “OK’ sign. Recently, when my little ten year God child Morgan saw me struggle with my diner and asked, "Do you want me to cut that up for you?" I laughed with joy, grateful I could now hold a knife. And this week I can type two handed for type for short periods of time. I am so grateful to be able to write and communicate these thoughts to you. The last lesson:
Be grateful for the smallest things you can do. Be grateful for all your capabilities.
I have a feeling that very few people will take the time to read this whole article. There is so much to do and so little time….But I am grateful to those of you who did. I had a little adventure and it was a good one and I am so very grateful for it.
Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional
The Body Language Expert
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As the National Spokesperson in Canada for Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion I worked with Vaseline on a touch research study. I have a few of the finding from the VICCL survey.
- In total, 1502 adults were interviewed across Canada.
- These interviews were conducted between August 2nd and August 7th, 2005.
- With a sample size of 1502, results are considered accurate to within (+ or -) 2.5 % points, 19 times out of 20.
Here are a few of the findings...
The most interesting thing in this bit is that the average Canadian spends an average of 5 minutes a day touching and an average of 35 minutes in electronic communication. Hmmmm, e-mail just is not the same as a hug.
- On average, people have 8.9 separate incidences of touching each day.
- People in Alberta touch the most (13.0), while those in the Maritimes and Quebec do so the least (7.8 each).
- Older people are the less frequently touched (between 45-54 - 7.4, between 55-64 - 5.3, and 65+ 4.4).
- Unmarried people are more likely to touch 2 or less times a day (38%), while married people touch 6 or more times a day (42%).
Daily Amount of Touch
- More than half of Canadians spend less than five minutes a day engaged in touch (61%). This is particularly true of those over the age of 55 (71%).
- The average amount of time touching is 7.4 minutes. This is consistent across the country.
- Men are more likely than women to spend less than a minute touching (37% vs. 24% respectively).
- Married people also spend more time touching (8.5 minutes vs. 5.6 minutes).
Daily Amount of TouchAverage Number of Minutes Spent on Touch / Daily Amount of Electronic Communication
- Two-thirds of Canadians spend more than 10 minutes a day on electronic communication, with one third spending more than one hour.
- 45% of people under 45 spend more than an hour a day on electronic communication.
- The average amount of time spent on electronic communication is 33.5 minutes.
- People in Alberta and B.C. spend the most time on electronic communication (an average of 40.7 and 37.3 minutes respectively).
If you want to hear more, I will be on "Breakfast Television" Canada's version of the Today Show Monday morning Feb 6 around 7:00 am talking about touch and the Vaseline Science of Touch exhibit.
He did use one emphatic hand to chest gesture in the whole speech. When he said, "I have the power (gesture) given to me by congress to decide...(on the patriot act.) The hand to the chest symbolically showed his power and that power was centered on him, and the hitting motion signaled that he would back up that power with might. You are more likely to see that gesture in old movies were they have a stereotped russion leader emphasing that he is in charge. Hummm.
I am doing speech coaching with a client all day Thursday so hope to do my blog tonight or early tommrrow morning. I'm off to get some Thai food. Yummm!
Surprise, he is still giving his habitual tongue thrusts. A tongue thrust is when someone sticks his tongue part of the way out of the mouth. Typically this is done very quickly in what is called a micro facial cue. A body language cue done so quickly you only notice it at a subconscious level. So you may feel, “Humm, he seems aggressive, but I don’t know why.”
Bush has a habit of giving slow, definite tongue thrusts after making a comment he is uncomfortable with. I have to be very objective about my reads when I am being interviewed by the media, but hey, this is a blog. I believe he does it to gear himself up and feel more confident. He does not give tongue thrusts when he talks about Iraq or war or attacking. In reading Bush, it is clear to me he is most comfortable when he is aggressive. For a detailed interpretation of the state of the union address two years ago, see go here . I will be watching more of last night's address and blogging about it. Of course, that means I have to watch the speech over and over, so pray for me.
Ok, so I am back from the Media tour in Toronto. One of the highlights as body language and touch expert was an interview on an afternoon talk show. The previous day the new prime minister had his photo taken shaking hands with his small son. The host asked me about that. I personally think it was just a photo op. hopefully; the new prime minister does more than shake hands with his young son! Any touch is preferable to none. And you know my threes years of research on handshakes has found that a handshake is equal to three hours of continuous interaction. That means if you do not shake hands at the beginning of the meeting it will take three hours of talking to get to the same level of rapport you can have with one handshake. Powerful stuff touch.
Vaseline Intensive Lotion
GO to the following blog for a photo of latest TV show about next new singer
Look at how she is touching him.
Touching hands can communicate affection, ownership or in a photo like this, a desire to share the touched person's power. I didn't watch the show this season, but touching powerful people in a photo is a way of associating yourself with their power position. I see this in photos of people being photographed with celebrities or polititians. The regular Joe is the touch aggressor. Just a thought.
You will see a group photo with famous people including Robert Redford and Tina Turner and
As a body language expert who works with law enforcement and the media I do photo body language reads. Looking at this, I find it interesting that Bush has chosen not to touch Tina Turner or his wife. This communicates his desire to single himself out in this group of illustrious people. The lack of touch, intimate space or leaning towards anyone when placed in the front and center postion says I am seperate and above.
The poll, conducted by the online dog forum Dogster and the job search engine Simply Hired, revealed that almost a third of those surveyed said they would go so far as taking a 5 percent pay cut if that meant their dog could accompany them to the office.
About 70 percent of the 150 individuals surveyed also considered a dog-friendly office an important job benefit.
I think that dogs make us feel better on so many different levels. I read in my local paper the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the Shelters after Hurricane Katrina were much calmer and well kept if the people in them had their pets with them.
As the National Spokesperson in Canada for Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion we surveyed 1500 Canadians on touch. Guess what? The survey found we touch our pets more than we touch each other. So today think about the positive touch you give and are given.
I am lonely today. I got up and got on my computer like so many people hoping to download emails from friends. Sure enough their were emails from friends meeting me tonight for dinner and comedy improv compitition and other friends that want to meet for dinner and movie tomorrow night and one from a girlfriend friend who just was checking in. But I am still lonely. I am sitting at my computer in my big old four bedroom two story house, all by myself, well there is Bo the wonder dog curled up at my feet. Lovign my dog Bo is wonderful but I am so lonely I am resisting the urge to belt out the old 70’s song ALL BY MYSELF. That’s lonely. I don’t think they we were meant to be so lonely and isolated.
We spend so much time working to get the big old car and house and live in suburbs were we can’t hear our neighbors and have to drive to get anywere…we co-exist rather than live in community. Richard Schwartz, a psychiatrist who co-authored the book, "Overcoming Loneliness in Everyday Life," with his wife, Jacqueline Olds, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School says, "Our notion of success is being able to purchase what you need and not be obligated to anyone,'' I Want to be obligated to people. I have that with my wonderful friends. I want someone to expect things of me. I want someone to expect me to be there when they call, to love hearing their voice, to enjoy seeing their smile, to think that their company is a delight. I want someone to miss me when they have not seen me in a while. I want intimacy.
Typically I will get an urgent call from a media contact and then rush to a TV studio to make comments about a breaking story. When I get to the studio, the producer or journalist I will be working with shakes my hand and ushers me into the studio. I sit calmly as they mike me and we do a sound check.
One day got a call to do a read of President Bush’s body language. I have done that dozen of times, so I thought it would be fun, and no big deal. When I enter the Fox news affiliate studio, I put out my hand, but the producer pulled her hand back said, “I’m sick and don’t want to give you germs.” She then turned and walked ahead of me. As I walked to the studio, my heart began to race and I had to ask for water because my mouth got dry. My hands shook as I sat on the stool in front of the cameras. I started to sweat. What was different this time? The host or “tribal chieftain” didn’t shake my hand to signal she was not going to hurt me and that the station was safe for me to enter. Without that warm greeting I felt danger, my cave woman instincts kicked in and I had a great need for a good antiperspirant.
Do not underestimate the assurance of saftey communicated in a greeting handshake.
I speak around the country to court reporters. They are the people, predominately women, who record every word, said in the courtroom or in a deposition. They have a lot of stories about the lawyers they work with. Many of them talk about a particular handshake ritual they see occur at the beginning and end of a trial or deposition.
Lawyers who have known each other for years will come in and shake hands with each other. Then those same lawyers will spend the entire day or trial saying horrible, derogatory things about one another, shake their fists, frown and nod negatively, and roll their eyes, and express other disrespectful gestures and sounds when the other lawyer is talking. They will in effect go to battle with each other, smile and shake hands again and say, "Let's go out for a drink." They are buddies again.
The court reporters were flabbergasted. How can guys do that? How can you shake hands and be friends again with someone who treated you so abominably? This is actually part of Gamesmanship.
The game rules say, "Shake hands with your opponent, and come out fighting." And when the game is over, the game is really over, so leave your bad feelings on the playing field and shake hands again.
This ritual is repeated by men over and over on the sports playing field as they grow up so that in adulthood it is second nature to them to shake hands and come out fighting.
Read some interesting stuff here.
I did a peace for Cosmo on the signs it’s over and Dream Girls mentioned a cue that’s a big signal of male displeasure, a little pat on the back. Women tend to give a man a pat on the back, when a man they are not attracted to gives them hug. They pat to say to the man, “I am not accepting this hug as a sexual contact.” Or, it could send a stronger message, “Down boy.” Men as well as women, use the pat as a signal there is a lack of sexual interest signal. That does not mean that every pat says, “Let’s call the whole thing off.” But is does sometimes mean you are being admonished subconsciously or treated as a child. Note that the bigger the pat the less intimacy communicated.
My favorite Golden Globe moment was when the actress Merkerson won a best actress award and came up and said, “I 53… I am having a hot flash.” Love it that a women in a performance arena said her real age!!!
I read photos of Brad and Angelina today for Life and Style Magazine. He is so much more relaxed with her since they announced they are pregnant. He looks happy. I say that even though I am enough of a square that I wish he had gotten divorced before he had started a new relationship. Seems like such an obvious thing to me.
I was having dinner over at my next door neighbor’s house when their cat named “Women” crawled up and my lap. I began to talk to her in a very high sweet voice. My neighbors started laughing and Roger said, “Oh, my gosh!”, “That is your BO BO voice!” “What are you talking about?” I replied indignantly. Roger answered, “We go to bed at 9:00 at night and we can here you at the kitchen door when you come home late greeting your Dog Bo as you unlock your door” He said, “Your voice goes up really high and lilts like your talking to a baby and you say, “Hello Bo Bo, Hello my sweet baby ”
My neighbors laughed and Roger continued using a funny high pitched imitation of my apparently already funny voice, “Hello BO BO.” He repeated. I was so embarrassed. I thought greeting my dog was a private ritual and hadn’t realized how hysterical my voice would sound to someone else.
You have the power to change your voice to sound sweet or mean angry or condescending just a lift here a change in timbre there and you can send a message of love or hate.
I like my BO BO voice. It’s filled with all the love and tenderness in my heart for the little four legged creature who always greets me with a waggely tail and a lick.
So now when my neighbors tease me, imitating my BO Bo voice, which they love to do, I smile knowing they are teasing me about all the love in my voice that’s wafts through their bedroom window late at night.
Paralanguage, the science of your vocal variations is part of nonverbal communication and like your body language it communicates so much of your true feeling. The words, "I love you." can mean a hundred different things depending on the way you say them.
Notice your voice today. Ask yourself what messages it is sending.
I was the baby of the family, significantly younger than my siblings. In fact my sister Robin, who is twelve years older than I am, went off to college the same week I started first grade. This age differance obviously effected our family dinners. I was down at the end of table playing with my food, trying to hide the broccoli under the mash potatoes, because no self respecting six year old eats anything green, while the rest of my family was focused on adult interaction.
Every family has its dinner ritual. And your childhood rituals effect your adult interactions. One of the most important nonverbal patterns that tend to develop at the family dinner table is where you sat and who you talked to. Nonverbal Communication research shows this pattern effects your future conversational behavior dinners and meeting behavior as an adult.
As a child I didn’t exactly fit in. Oh! I tried. After all I loved begging the center of attention. I would interrupt the conversational flow with exploits of the number of minnows in my latest catch and how high I swung on the swing that day. I always had to fight my way into the conversation. , using an extra loud voice. I had more energy and enthusiasm than a high school cheerleader and facial expressions and chair dancing to rival Steve Martin. I would even sit on my feet so I would sit higher at the table thinking it was just a few inches of height that separated me from the fun.
My antics would work in the short term. I could always get the first part of the story out. But if I went a second to long, the adults would shush me and continue on and I would be the small silent food magician pushing potatoes around again.
Occasionally my enthusiasm would disturb them far too much and I would be “allowed” to eat in the basement family room in front of the TV. I would hear the family laughing upstairs over the sounds of The Virginian or Flintstone Cartoon and would take the opportunity given in my absence from the table to flush any food I didn’t like down the toilet. My mother always said, “You eat so much better when you’re not distracted by us talking” It was lonely downstairs. I felt left out. But I felt left out at the table as well.
Now here is the kicker. Years later I began to go to grad student meeting then faculty meeting and then corporate meeting. Sitting around any board room table I felt like the little kid at the end being ignored. I even sat on my feet! But I was silent most of the time. It took several years of speaking in front of audiences at the corporate level to get my confidence up enough to speak in a board room. The patterns created at the family dinner table are very strong.
Yesterday I went to a business meeting at a restaurant. The booth seat was low, I asked for a telephone book to sit on. I guess I am too old to sit on my feet.
Where do you sit at the table?
My mom knows how to use her body language to make people feel comfortable, to feel important. Basically she flirts with the world. And having seen the magic she creates I can tell you everybody loves it.
Try flirting with the world today.
Missy had on new jewelry, but the something old, borrowed and blue was her mother’s antiques lace handkerchief. Missy pulled it out a few times during the wedding to dry her happy tears. The last time she pulled it out to hand to the justice of the piece, who started crying and she pronounced Missy and Kevin husband a wife. We all laughed and then the couple turned and walked out quite literally into the sun setting over the bay.
I would love to hear your nonverbal wedding stories in the comments.
Missy will not be running away, she is very much in love. Her fiancé Kevin has definitely kidnapped her heart.
Right now her girlfriends and maid of Honor are fixing her long blonde hair. The bride’s maids in medieval times stayed with the bride in the days before the marriage and braided her hair with flowers and rubbed her with perfumes oils, basically trying to keep her calm. Here I hear the girls laughing and talking about Whistler’s resort where she and Kevin will spend their honeymoon. It's a nice sound
You will find more info Monday on traditional wedding customs. I love knowing the origin or nonverbal rituals.
Last night my future nephew had his bachelor party, where they were joined by the bachlorettes who had just finished their spa day. The first bachelor parties were in Sparta and were given by warriors to celebrate fellow warrior’s upcoming nuptials.
The first “weds” in Anglo Saxon times were guarantees of the groom’s family that the bride would be taken care of for the rest of her life.
Why? We are wired to find a baby’s large head, round eyes, and little nose attractive. Our primal brains are wired to insure a baby’s survival. In our family we call this fascination baby worship, and that seems an appropriate name.
Now, if you will excuse me. I have to go and wrap a little tractor with a farmer and mooing cow for my little nephew, an offering to the baby god.
I remember how my father uses to love to play golf. I bet one of the things he loved was sitting side by side with one of his buddies, joking and laughing for a day. You add a cooler of beer to the outing and you can really self disclose!
On the trip with my sister we talked and laughed for 8 hours. Maybe we should all take a long car trip or play golf with a loved one.
It depends on what activity you want to encourage. If you want people to visit, share ideas, bond and create agreement, put them in “social seating.” This spacing actually brings people together, like team style seating in a classroom or the dining table in most homes. The people are facing each other around a table but the table breadth is no more than three feet, so they are still in personal distance.
If you want them to be quiet, be obedient and listen, use sociofugal seating. This creates spacing which separates people so no one faces anyone else. We see this in the straight rows of chairs found in airports or bus terminals.
Positions at a table also communicate power. In Western cultures, a father traditionally sits at the head of the table facing the other members of the family, appropriate to his primary role in patriarchal societies.
As a former college instructor and as a speaker trainer for over 20 years I know that audiences have changed dramatically. My Auburn college audience in the early 80’s would listen quietly and politely and dutifully write down every word of my lecture verbatim. My FSU students were not as quiet, but I still had to work got them to ask questions and debate with me. My corporate audiences were equally as passive. But now audiences become what I love best, filled with the desire for lively interaction and sharing. Speaking can not longer be a data dump of PowerPoint slides. It must reflect the publics growing desire to interact and have an opinion.