Body Language Analysis №3993: Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and subordinate Behavior — Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
In conjunction with their private meeting yesterday at the G20 Summit, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump made some brief statements to the Press — and shook hands on-camera for the second and third time.
There are many ingredients to a good handshake and most people consistently get the majority of these nonverbals components wrong.
On each of these two occasions in this press statement, Donald Trump offered his hand up first — and he did so in a palm-up fashion. This is very common for President Trump (he’s done it with many other heads-of-state) — but initiating a handshake with a palm-up configuration — particularly when that person is the initiator — is subordinate behavior. That indeed is one advantage of offering one’s hand first — for you get choreograph it. You get to lead the dance (or you can choose to be led).
Donald Trump believes this dynamic makes him look friendly, but he’s sorely mistaken — it makes him acquiescing and weak.
Now, if your boss shakes your hand with his hand palm-down — recognized this action for the context in which it’s presented. His behavior would tell you that you need to feed your boss’ ego. By all means — feed it. Reciprocate with your palm faced upward. But such is not the case between heads-of-states. It’s a beta behavior and should NEVER be used by a president, a prime minister, or any leader — especially on the World stage.
Another important component of this interaction is the manner in which each man is sitting. Both men use the “Seated Crotch Display” as their default setting. This is often colloquially referred to as “Manspreading”.
Trump’s hands are also in a modified low steeple — which for him, again is his normal pose.
But now look at each man’s arms. Putin’s upper arms and elbows are held far away from his torso — while Trump’s arms are very close to his body. This difference is striking. Putin is projecting an alpha and assertive emotional tone, while Trump is being beta and diminutive.
Summary: The body language used by Donald Trump in this interaction is significantly beta to Vladimir Putin’s alpha. Although his spoken language suggests parody, President Trump’s body language is screaming acquiescence.
This post and the associated website serve as reference sources for the art and science of Body Language/Nonverbal Communication. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author. In an effort to be both practical and academic, many examples from/of varied cultures, politicians, professional athletes, legal cases, public figures, etc., are cited in order to teach and illustrate both the interpretation of others’ body language as well as the projection of one’s own nonverbal skills in many different contexts — not to advance any political, religious or other agenda.