BODY LANGUAGE: ONE FORM OF NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION

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I don't know which fork to kill myself with.

HANDSHAKES

I’ve noticed so many people on Twitter are puzzled and flabbergasted by the bizarre non-verbal communication of Donald Trump. We know his words are vomited blends of “very,” “bigly,” and “illegals.” His body language emphasizes severe insecurity, not confidence.

The latest was show in a video clip tweeted by ABC News as Trump welcomed Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau managed (possibly through strength as he seems to work out a lot) not to give in to Trump’s yanking or pushing handshakes. Japan PM Abe however, was the victim of a ludicrous display of posturing where Trump clearly has no training in foreign cultures’ protocol; a short handshake with a head bow is all Japan requires, but that’s not what Asshole in Chief does to PM Abe. They are not interested in hugging foreign leaders and yet Trump made some kind of stupid remark, as he always does, about wanting to hug and kiss him.

PROTOCOL

Asshole in Chief may be well-traveled, but as someone who is not, even I learned how to shake hands in 9th grade. I also learned what cultural protocol meant from the 1984 movie starring Goldie Hawn, aptly titled Protocol.

“If I don’t holler and scream when I think you’re doing it wrong, if I just mind my own business and don’t vote or care, then I just get what I deserve.” Protocol, 1984

RECOMMENDATIONS

In 2012, I had the enormous privilege to interview former FBI interrogator Joe Navarro (a Cuban immigrant by the way) about his work conducting interviews and examining what’s not being said – the body language. I love his books and use them as a writer to make sure that I’m not only giving characters dialog and inner monologues, but also describing what their bodies say, what their environment or clothing choices say (tidy, meticulous, or bohemian, avante garde).

One of the many things discussed in the History Channel documentary, Secrets of Body Language, is when people grab or pat the bicep of the person they are shaking hands with (as seen above in the Trudeau clip). It’s the “take it up one notch” to a strong handshake saying, “I’ve got more power than you.” Then there’s the fascinating section where the documentary shows that different cultures have a dominance preference for who enters doorways first. Remember the Inauguration when Trump exited his vehicle leaving his wife behind? Melania carried a present and the Obamas went over to greet her and show her to the door with caring hands placed on her back as her ignorant and rude husband was already walking through the door.

President Barack Obama (R) and Michelle Obama escort President-elect Donald Trump and wife Melania into the White House for tea before the inauguration on January 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Trump becomes the 45th President of the United States. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI /CNP/MediaPunch/IPX

SMILE!

Hillary Clinton was berated for both smiling and for not smiling. That’s an arena where women can never win. Men can look like they sucked on sour lemons all day and it’s fine. Yet, whenever Pres. Obama smiled, people made sure to say how much they loved it.

 

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