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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Raj's Body Language

From the Seattle Times today, an analysis by a body language expert of Raj Manhas.

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Mixed messages

Trust me, but: The hands and face of Seattle School Superintendent Raj Manhas are sending contradictory signals, says Pease, examining this photo of Manhas with a parent who successfully opposed the closure of an elementary school.

Open-handed. "Holding the palms out is a very old gesture also used by monkeys and chimpanzees. It shows they've got nothing in their hands or concealed under their arms. If you talk with an audience with your palms in an upward position, they not only remember up to 40 percent more of what you've said, but they like you."

Planning an attack? But the superintendent's smile, with no lower teeth visible, looks strained, and his eyes appear narrowed. "Large mammals narrow their eyes before they attack."

The net effect: "While both of these people appear to be friendly, he's forcing the fact that he's really a good guy: 'You can trust me. I'm your friend.' But his face is saying, 'I wish I was elsewhere, lady.' "