Negotiations

U.S. Presidents – Faces of Power?

by Joseph McGuire on 10th July 2017 Comments Off on U.S. Presidents – Faces of Power?
FILE - 5 SEPTEMBER 2012: The 2012 Democratic National Convention began yesterday with former US Preseident Bill Clinton taking to the stage this evening to speak. The November 6, 2012 elections will decide between US Presidential Candidates Barack Obama (L) and Mitt Romney. For a look back at the last 100 years of US Presidential races. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery: https://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=150262549&EditorialProduct=Archival#esource=maplinARC_uki_sep12 (FILE PHOTO) In this composite image a comparison has been made between former US Presidential Candidates John F Kennedy (L) and Richard Nixon. In 1960 John F Kennedy won the presidential election to become the President of the United States. ***LEFT IMAGE*** 1960: Senator John F Kennedy, the Democratic candidate smiles on November 9, 1060. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images) ***RIGHT IMAGE*** 1960: American politician Richard Nixon looks up on July 19, 1969. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 150262549

November 9, 1060. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Even in this hi-tech world our faces are an integral part of our brand. Those we meet form impressions of us in micro-seconds. As part of my profession I assess people based on their facial features, micro-expressions and their body language. I do this to help clients make clear and informed decisions about who they hire and who they’re doing business with. Often I don’t have the opportunity to sit across from someone so I must form a detailed and accurate impression of their personality and behaviour style from their photograph. This might sound impossible but you can tell a great deal about someone from their photo.

Instinctively and historically we have tended to associate particular features with leadership and trustworthiness. A classic example of this came in the U.S. presidential campaign of 1960. This was the first time the candidates were shown debating live on TV. John F. Kennedy recognised the power of the medium and was amenable to the requests of the studio people, including wearing makeup. Richard Nixon in contrast was ill, wasn’t taking his medication, and refused to wear makeup, on the grounds that it was unmanly! (Anyone appearing on TV nowadays will know the importance of makeup.) During the debate Nixon perspired and looked unshaven, whereas Kennedy appeared youthful, relaxed and energetic. The TV debate was regarded as being a decisive factor in a close run election. Interestingly a survey of radio listeners made Nixon a clear winner of the debate. A clear case of pictures painting a thousand words!

Donald Trump (Mobile)

More recently Donald Trump became the 45th POTUS. Over many years he has crafted a public image of himself as a powerful, decisive and no-nonsense business leader, with exaggerated body language to match. This image helped to impress a high enough percentage of the electoral college for him to be elected. A closer look at his facial features provides a much more detailed profile of his personality. Trump has a relatively square face, which the Chinese refer to as an Iron face – a trait he shared with Winston Churchill. This shape is associated with great stamina, a very strong will, and a tendency to rely on strong instincts – which are often accurate. His bone structure is strong, and coupled with his large nose indicates that he will be an imposing personality with very strong drives – He will invariably speak his mind. The dip at the bridge of the nose shows his lack of patience with meetings.

His eyes are usually narrowed, and where this is not as a consequence of visual impairment it is a likely sign of a calculating personality. (NB – Ultimately the eyes are the most important part of Face Reading. In western culture making eye contact is important, and we should pay close attention to the message we get from the eyes. In the case of Donald Trump there is very rarely any warmth evident, so we can be clear that he acts primarily in his own interests.)The thick upper eyelid folds are a sign of a large ego. The left eyelid fold is noticeably thicker, meaning that his ego will be more pronounced in his private life. The inner angle of the left eye is more acute than the right eye, so his temper will be quite evident to those living with him. The 3-dimensional fleshy bump on his chin is associated with bursts of impulsive, unpredictable and even childish behaviour which will frequently be a means of demonstrating his macho side.

In our increasingly busy world we can become accustomed to brief glances, leading to what psychologists refer to as ‘inattentional blindness’. It pays to take a little more time and care to see the details and discover who we’re really dealing with and prepare accordingly.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joseph McGuire is the owner of Clearsight Communications who provide personal evaluation services and training in the areas of senior level recruitment/promotion, negotiations, sales and HR. Individual consultation sessions are available both in person and via Skype. He is also in demand for group presentations, private functions and conferences. For further information email: info@clearsightcommunications.com

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Joseph McGuireU.S. Presidents – Faces of Power?

Pay Attention to Detect Deception

by Joseph McGuire on 18th March 2015 Comments Off on Pay Attention to Detect Deception

missing_connection_new

Deception leaves a bitter taste, and is destructive of relationships, reputations and credibility. Unfortunately in recent years we have seen all too frequent attempts at deception in the public arena, often under the heading of ‘spin’. Corporations, governments and media, sometimes acting in tandem have striven to gain advantage by mis-representing or denying factual evidence. It is short term thinking at best, and thankfully there is a growing awareness of the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility. Let’s hope it forms deep roots.

Over many years cinema has presented us with numerous examples of characters out to deceive. Some personal favourites in recent times are ‘The Usual Suspects’, ‘Catch Me If You Can’, ‘Insomnia’ and ‘Thank You for Smoking’. The reasons for deceit varied considerably, but the performances were all convincing – as one would expect from accomplished actors. In real life – unless one is a sociopath or psychopath – we are likely to leave a trail of both verbal and non-verbal clues pointing to any attempts to deceive. The key to spotting deception is to become observant enough to note the discrepancies of language and behaviour which act as ‘red flags’.

There is a great deal of mis-information in the public arena about Body Language, especially around this topic, and there are very few gestures which definitively indicate deception. The following sequence or cluster of movements tested in MIT and North Eastern University has been shown to conclusively reveal lying, when done in this order in this order:

  • Touching ones hand
  • Touching ones face
  • Folding ones arms
  • Leaning back

Of course there any many more indicators to look out for. If our suspicions are aroused when interviewing or negotiating we should be alert for sudden or incongruous gestures, movements, or changes in breathing patterns. If we spot any such changes it is important to note where in the conversation they have occurred and what issue was being discussed. Rather than automatically assume that this is a clear sign of deceit we should bring the conversation back to non-contentious issues for a few minutes to allow for a return to a relaxed posture. Only then should we return to the topic which triggered the initial gestures etc. If they are repeated we can then begin to probe directly to discover the underlying cause. It may or may not be deception, but it will certainly be a significant stress factor which can prevent a successful outcome. Double checking like this is important. It both prevents us from jumping to conclusions and clarifies that we have hit a ‘hot’ topic. A one-off shift in posture may be down to physical discomfort or itchy clothing.

Politicians

Politicians are a fascinating study when we look at Body Language, and they frequently reveal very deceptive behaviour. Perhaps the best known example was Bill Clinton denying that he had had “a sexual relationship with that woman…..Miss Lewinsky!” As he spoke he provided two visual clues and one verbal clue that he was lying. He is famously left-handed, but he gestured with his right hand. At the same time he looked to his left, distancing himself from his gesture.

bill-clinton-denies-affair.jpg.custom1200x675x20.dimg (Mobile)

His reference to “that woman….Miss Lewinsky” was an example of further distancing himself from what had clearly been a very intimate relationship, and is a typical verbal tic used when lying. (For a fuller list of verbal indications of lying look up ‘Statement Validity Assessment’, drawn up by German psychologists. This is an invaluable tool.)

To practice your deception-spotting skills I recommend watching politicians when they are making apparently emotional speeches. If you know which is their dominant hand check if that is the one they are using to gesture with e.g. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are left-handed. Watch the speech first with the sound on, then rewind and watch with the sound off. In particular pay attention to the eyes and the mouth. You may well spot fleeting glimpses, known as micro-expressions, of smiles and smirks, in which case these are red flags – but hopefully your politicians are honest!

Joseph McGuire is the owner of Clearsight Communications who provide personal evaluation services and training in the areas of senior level recruitment/promotion, negotiations, sales and HR. Individual consultation sessions are available both in person and via Skype. He is also in demand for group presentations, private functions and conferences. For further information email: info@clearsightcommunications.com

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Joseph McGuirePay Attention to Detect Deception

Missing the Connection? Open Your Eyes!

by Joseph McGuire on 24th November 2014 Comments Off on Missing the Connection? Open Your Eyes!

“What we have here is a failure to communicate”- Cool Hand Luke

Very few of us have all the business we could possibly want or cope with. To boost sales we join networks, attend gatherings and conferences, and arrange one-to-one meetings. Yet the amount of time invested, and the conversion rate from possibility to profitability is frequently too modest to satisfy.  At times there may be little or no fit between the businesses, and we say thank you and move on. Other times, however, we almost get a deal done, but an elusive ’something’ intrudes and blocks the way, and it is not necessarily down to price, presentation or sales technique.

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Joseph McGuireMissing the Connection? Open Your Eyes!