Body Language and Deception Analysis of Brian Williams Apology Statement. Letterman.

Body Language and Deception Analysis of Brain Williams’
Apology Statement Letterman

Williams certainly wanted to get through the apology as quickly as possible. Perhaps, because this time, he was hit by real “ground fire’ criticism from the public and the media. Time is a nonverbal communicator. Rushing through the apology shows his desire to distance himself from his guilt and get on with things rather than sincere remorse.
"I said I was in the aircraft that was hit… I was instead…” Newscasters often use the words, “rather” and “instead” when they have made a word or phrasing blunder in their news story. This was more than a misspoken word. This was a lie. If an actor had lied we would think, bad boy. This is however a news correspondent whose words we rely on for the truth of what is going on in the world.
He then goes on to give the “excuse” that the story was, “a bungled attempt to thank one special veteran…” I watched him tell the story on Letterman 6 times, and it was not a story of thanks to one special veteran. A content analysis of it instead categorizes it as a comic, “I had a bad night in Vegas” variety story. He does mention that one soldier was hit in the ear when he told the story on Letterman and he touches his ear after he says that showing he distances himself from that soldier and his injury and did not feel the pain that soldier had in that moment. Yes, he is a journalist and he is trained to distance himself, but if someone was being projected as the hero of the story it was him. Watch as he tells it how Letterman leans forward and goes, “Wow.”
As he says, “I hope they know they have my greatest respect and also now my apology” watch how his head goes down and his eyes close and his voice goes unusually soft and faint as he says the word, “apology.” I would like to say this is normal shamed behavior. But, I will say, it shows embarrassment. I would have liked to have seen him look in the camera and say, “I messed up and I am truly sorry.” He should have said, “What I did was to claim pain and hardship that was not mine to claim.”  Instead his pride overrides what should have been true humbleness. Brian Williams rushes through the content with body language that does not show he is truly contrite.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at

Three Rules of Etiquette for Using Technology, Email and Cell Phone Etiquette

Three Rules of Etiquette for Using Technology,
 Email and Cell Phones

In my book SNAP I have a chapter on Tech Impressions. Here are two excerpts from the book and one from my workshop of First Impressions.

Cell Phones and Texting Etiquette
When it comes to cell phones and texting, you have to think about the impression you are making on those around you, in your physical presence, not just those with whom you are communicating.

Guideline #1:  In public places, keep your cell phone calls brief and at a low volume and your content censored at a G for general public rating.
Be polite because there is a strange nonverbal phenomenon that occurs when we are connected via phone or electronic device, we feel such an intimate connection to the person we are directly communicating with we give out nonverbal cues that we would normally reserve for one-on-one intimate space conversations. In addition we tune out to our true environmental sensors for our behavior.  We no longer see or hear or acknowledge the people in our physical space so we don’t follow the rules of etiquette for public communication.

A college professor reported receiving the following email from a student before the term began. Mind you, this was a student he had never met. The email read: “What textbooks do u require for class?” That was the extent of it. There was no salutation, no name and not even a reference to which class the student was taking. Worst of all, was the use of “textspeak” to an English Professor.

Guideline #2:  Your first email to someone should be formal as if you were writing a letter. Use the salutation “Dear.” You might write, “Dear Mr. Livingston:” or “Dear Alex Livingston:” (especially if you don’t know the person’s gender) and then skip a line and begin your message. When your message is complete, write “Sincerely, and then your name.” One you have established contact with a person through email, and then you may switch to a less formal tone. You should still use a greeting of some sort unless the email has turned into a back and forth conversation. Even then, I try to use the person’s name in the message. It creates a more personal touch.

Guideline #3:  Put away your phone. You are being rude if you don’t turn off technology or put it away before talking or you focus on technology when people are with you in person.  Jim carries his phone with him everywhere, it’s in his right hand where he can glance at it often and you see him walking down the halls on the phone. Your computer, pad or smart phones are just one place you should be working. Just a few years ago, employees looked important, busy and hardworking if they brought their phone with them everywhere and were checking it constantly. That image has changed. Now you just look like you’re rude, that your time and your needs are more important than the person or people you are with. Yes even you. Yes, I know you are an extremely busy person getting hundreds of texts and or emails you must respond to. Think of your device as your three year old child. Ask yourself when you are with a work contact, would I have my three year old with me during this conversation at work. If the answer is no, don’t bring the device or put it away. Challenge yourself to change your behavior in three important ways:
1.    Remember the person in front of you is always more important than anything on your device. They are the real live person.
2.    If you can don’t take your technology with you or keep it off and completely out of site. Don’t put it on the desk between you and the other person.
3.    A new cell phone ritual when you get to the meeting if you have a device that is visible make it a ritual to pick it up set it not to make a noise and put it out of your line of site. I would even recommend, if you are meeting with one to three people and you want to let them know why you are doing that and or want them to do the same then  you say out loud something like, “I am putting this away so I can focus on you.” Or “Let me turn this off and put this away while we talk.” Or “I want to focus on our conversation or this important meeting.”
4.    Don’t pull out the phone to check your messages at the end of the meeting if the people you are meeting with are still in the room. Say goodbye, get out of their visual and auditory field then check your messages.

I also have some napkin rules because I have people ask me what the rules are every time I am at a banquet or formal event. It makes people uncomfortable if they don’t know the rules.
Think of the napkin being unfolded by the host like the curtain going up in a theater. The meal begins when the host unfolds his or her napkin. This is your signal to do the same. Place your napkin on your lap, completely unfolded. Typically, you want to put your napkin on your lap soon after sitting down at the table (but follow your host's lead).
If there is not a host just a group of friends, think of the napkin being unfolded and put across your lap as the signal of the meal and conversation beginning. So the putting your napkin on your lap is like pushing the play button on a YouTube video it starts the meal and the full flow of conversation. Just like you leave your sheets on your bed while you’re sleeping the napkin remains on your lap throughout the entire meal and if you get up from the table during the meal, place your napkin on your chair.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at