The Body Language Of Norway's Oil And Energy Secretary Of State.

A reporter from the Norwegian leading daily asked me to contribute to an article about the body language of Norway's oil and energy Secretary of State. My response is below the request and video he sent.

He has got a lot of criticism for the past months, and his popularity is not good at the moment.
"Would you be kind to watch this clip from the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, and tell us what you see in Secretary of State, Terje Riis-Johansen's body language. How do you read him?" "He is the man at the left. The other one is a political commentator. I guess you don't know the language, but that is kind of the idea behind this request." Here is the video

To give a complete read I would need to know what questions he is responding to and his nonverbal cues in response to the questions and as he answers.
Having said that. Here is what I noticed. He came in sat down and immediately crossed his arms in what I call the castle wall position and kept them there.
That is odd for any interview if you are comfortable and confident you keep your limps apart and your heart in view. He also hunches over further protecting himself in a defense position. It is obvious something is going on at the 1:51 mark or so on the video. His voice get more tense and he is hurling his response out as if they wear fighting fists.
The commentator gets a bit patronizing. Look at his mouth at 2:02. If you do a screen grab of that moment you will see his mouth turned down and held shut very tightly so that the chin wrinkles. That is suppressed anger. He hold his face in that position longer that a open exposed emotion would play across the face. Look closely at the eyes. There is anger there too. It is interesting that most people in this facial position believe they are showing a neutral facial expression. There is something else going on at 4:48 or so that he feels strongly about his voice get more staccato and he wants to emphasize a point.
Hopefully that is helpful for you. If there is another moment of the tape you would like me to watch let me know. I would love to know what was being discussed at those point.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Also check out the body language quiz on her YouTube Channel at