Tag Archives: non-verbal communication

The TrumpShake Saga Continues with the Comey Shake-Hug

Here’s another Maclean’s video interview where I am asked about the non-verbal communication of President Trump with others, including James Comey.  It’s a quick analysis of Trump’s ‘aggressive’ off-balancing TrumpShake, his open arm and head nod gesture (including chin thrust) to James Comey, and Comey’s initial hesitations, uncomfortable hand-wringing gesture and his seemingly strong desire to not show rapport with Trump, and escape the scene ASAP.  Enjoy!

What Does Your Handshake Say? Learn These Tips

Balanced Counter Shake

Everyone is talking about President Trump’s power handshakes, and today everyone is proud of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for not allowing Trump to bully-handshake him at their White house meeting yesterday.  I was contacted yesterday myself by Maclean’s Magazine for an interview on my thoughts on their non-verbal communication. That short video can be seen here, but be advised the interview was done before the video was made, so my comments do not necessarily match up with the images shown.

Are handshakes such a big deal?  Well, yes, they are.  They show non-verbal communication intentions on dominance, control, balance and openness. They are worthy of a bit of study, and I will give some tips on what to do or not do when shaking hands, particularly at a political or business function.

To start, ‘medium’ is the rule to remember. Walk at a medium pace, speak with medium voice/volume, gesture and shake hands with medium speed. This shows you are calm and in control of yourself.

After a calm approach, you should make sure you are engaged in eye contact and then smile as you extend your hand. Maintain good posture as you approach and extend the hand. Don’t bend at the waist (unless in Asia or with Asian delegates) and don’t over-extend your arm so you appear too eager and/or off-balance. Introduce yourself (e.g. Hello – I’m Ric. Nice to meet you!) and connect hands (not fingers) evenly, palm to palm. Be ‘firm but fair’ to the other people in your networking circles! Never crush a hand and never offer a seemingly ‘broken wrist’ or ‘just-fingers’ weak handshake. Both hands should be level – do not twist the hands to either extreme side, if possible. I am not a fan of twisting someone’s hand so that my palm is up and they have ‘the upper hand’ now, or vice versa. Let’s start off on equal footing, shall we?

Pump your hands 2-4 times, gently and evenly, and repeat the person’s name after they introduce themselves to help you retain that new information if necessary.  There is usually no need for extra tactics, like using your free hand to clasp the hands while shaking (the double) or patting the shoulder of the person you are engaging (the pat-down). In the North American culture these extras are not necessary, but if someone does that to you, it’s almost natural to return the favour, to even the score. Go ahead and do unto others as they do unto you.

Dominant people may want you to enter a room first and will gesture to let you go first, and may even lightly touch/pat your back, as a ‘guide’ through the doorway.  It looks polite (and it technically is) but it also is another example of them ‘steering’ you somewhere and being in control because they can see you the whole time, and you need to ‘trust’ them when they’re behind you.  In evolutionary terms, you never wanted a potential predator or someone you didn’t know/trust to be behind you where you’re vulnerable to blind attack.

Regardless of what is in their mind or their style of greeting, you should always aim for a balanced and equal meet to start the relationship on the right foot. Just don’t be surprised if others have favourite tactics they wish to use on you.  Whether it is at a formal business meeting or at a relaxed social outing, learning how to hand shake with balance and confidence, and learning how to match the other person’s style is all good practice!  Go ahead – put your best hand forward!  🙂


Body Language and Eye Reading Article


There is a pretty good article on Body Language and specifically Eye Reading on Kevin Hogan’s weekly newsletter here:

Go to Get the latest in persuasion news! Weekly ezine from Kevin Hogan. Yours free when you click here.

That is his homepage. On the upper left corner you will see his latest weekly articles. The bottom one is what you want to click to, the one called “Body Language: Language of the eyes.” These articles are changed every week, before Monday morning, so if you are interested in Body language, please get to this article soon, before it is taken down.

It is from a guest writer who uses English as a second language, FYI.

Anyway it is an interesting read. Enjoy!

Communication is Needed for Leadership

I wanted to share with you this excerpt from Dan Schabel’s blog, whom I don’t know, as he interviewed an author, speaker and coach that I do follow, Larina Case, PsyD, MBA. This topic focuses on the importance of communication and confidence (my 2 favourite subjects) and leadership skills. For the full blog article, please visit here:

Is everyone capable of being a great leader? Why or why not?

Everyone is capable of being a great leader in some aspect of their life, either leading themselves or others. If you’re going to lead others, you must first be a great leader of yourself—it’s a prerequisite.
In terms of leading others, I think that about one quarter of leadership ability is natural and the rest is learned.
Inherent or inborn characteristics of great leadership include qualities like thought process (great leaders are often “big picture” people rather than data-driven types, which helps them to create and communicate a powerful vision), and the personality traits openness and conscientiousness. Contrary to popular belief, research has not shown the personality trait of extroversion to correlate with great leaders (not all great leaders are extroverts).

Qualities that can be learned if someone has the interest and desire include the emotional intelligence factors that are so important to leadership—things like self awareness, empathy, confidence, communication, influence, and being a catalyst for change.

What are some common characteristics of great leaders?

Great leaders positively influence others. Two of the most important features of influence are empathy and communication. Empathy is the ability to understand the thoughts and feelings of others. Without empathy, people feel that you don’t get them and resist your influence. With empathy, people feel heard and understood and in alignment with you.

When people are empathic, they naturally communicate well. This is because empathic people mirror the body language and emotions of others, which creates a synchronicity.

Communication skills are made up of nonverbal (body language, tone of voice, etc.) and verbal (what you say) behaviors. Your nonverbal are most important, and through training everyone can improve their nonverbal communication.

Once again, to continue reading this blog, just go here:

Body Language – Is It Really Useful?

“Do you know about body language?”

Ask someone this and they will probably say “oh yes. I should make eye contact but not stare at someone too long, I should not cross my arms because it looks closed, and I should not slouch at meetings, etc.”

Okay, that information EVERYONE knows. But I have to tell you, as a student and teacher of body language, there is a lot more going on than just that. Let me ask you these questions:

Can you tell what is going on with a man and a woman in just one photograph?

Can you predict accurately who is a leader and who is not?

Are you trained to pay attention to things others do not see?

What do you think of Obama and McCain’s body language? Have you thought about what each man is trying to project?

Communication is made up of 2 parts – verbal and non-verbal. Obviously body language falls under the latter. As we learned from the 3 Vs of communication, 55% of all our communication is visual, which is our body language, gestures, attire and accessories. (The other 2 Vs are verbal and vocal, remember?)
If you are interested in improving your ability to read people accurately then I suggest you consider the study of body language.

Today I have a great body language analysis quiz for you! Take a look at these photos of Obama and McCain, Nikky Hilton, Tom Arnold, Bruce Springsteen, Pam Anderson, Sir Richard Branson, and other people and see if you can interpret their relationships and projected messages before reading what the expert, Kevin Hogan, has revealed.


I am a big fan of Kevin Hogan. Who is he? He teaches influence, NLP, persuasion, sales, personal performance etc. in addition to body language. He has a great weekly newsletter, lots of books in the bookstore plus several at-home study programs. Click the above link, go down about half-way to find the photos of the famous people, and start reading their body language! Have fun!

That’s it for today. Thank you so much to those of you that responded to my poll regarding our upcoming Toronto workshops. I am planning the next one for October as you read this. I will tell you about it in the next newsletter, and give you a chance to take advantage of an ‘early-bird’ special if you so choose.

Thanks again and have fun with your body language quiz! Here is the link to it again:


All the best,


PS – Tomorrow I will post some other Kevin Hogan program links to my blog, just in case you are interested to know more about his home-study courses in different areas. I believe he is having a sale right now on some products, when you click through the links.

Bye for now,


Body Language & Face-Reading Resources

I recently presented an interactive seminar on body and face reading at a Toronto law firm. At the end I gave them some resources, just in case they wanted to learn more about this art/science. So then I thought I should also let you, my faithful readers, get in on this knowledge! For those interested, here is a starting list of some good resources that you may want to check out, if you are interested in improving your ability to read peoples emotions, character, attitudes and beliefs, and current intentions. Have fun!


How to Read a Person like a Book by Gerald I. Nierenberg and Henry Calero

How to Use Body Language by Drs. Sharon and Glenn Livingston

In Your Face by Bill Cordingley

Face Language 2000 by Jon E. and David E. Prescott









Body Language Resource

Hello everyone,

I have recently been asked if I would let everyone know about a new resource out of the U.K.
It is a website that contains tons of articles on Body Language. You could spend a lot of hours here. The strength of the site is its variety and specific topics. Ironically, the weakness I think is that the articles do not go into great detail, as the topic would suggest. However, for people just starting to study body language or who have been studying for a short time, this is a great resource.
I am happy to recommend it.

The link is:

I hope you like it.

Improve your body language, improve your confidence!

Improve your body language, improve your confidence!

The way that you move your body and walk has an enormous effect on the way that you feel and your confidence levels.

Let’s start with an exercise.
Imagine there are two people standing in front of you – one with “negative body language” and one with “positive body language”.

I’d now like you to write down what you are observing with each of these people.


Positive Body Lang.

Negative Body Lang.

How are they standing?


Where are their eyes looking?


Where have they got their head?


How are they talking?



How are they moving?




You know, how you feel at any moment in time is linked to what is going on in your head and how you are moving your body. The way that you move sends subconscious messages to your mind and this either helps or hinders the way that you feel.

Emotion is created by motion. If you sit still for a long period of time your natural energy levels automatically lower. And what happens when you get up, walk around and return to your seat? Yes, you have more energy and you’re given a boost. I can’t stress how important it is to move and act confidently and positively.

You will give off all the right vibes to everyone around you and it will make them think that you are confident even if you’re not feeling it inside.

Yes, that’s right. Even if you’re not feeling confident, act as though you are.

So, how do you do this?

Well, controlled and with a purpose. Don’t saunter along aimlessly. Walk like you know exactly where you’re going and keep your head up, chin level. Gesture with your hands as you talk, it will create motion and you know what that leads to – EMOTION!

The right gestures also have a major impact on building rapport.  Smooth, engaging gestures work best, especially those that match and complement your words and speech patterns. And don’t forget to smile!

Think for a moment about your confidence role model.

One thing that he/she and confident people in general have in common is that they all probably smile a lot and are happier than their negative counterparts. It may sound silly, but there is a lot of power associated with a smile. So what I would like you to do is to start smiling more often.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to walk around with a silly grin on your face all of the time.

But smile as you walk down the street, when you talk to someone, even when you look in the mirror at yourself. You will be surprised at how better you will feel for it, and it will project a positive image to all others – one that will attract opportunities and people.

Remember that confident people are happy people and negative people are not.
Happy people are also seen as more attractive than unhappy and sad people so that is an added bonus!

So in closing, be aware that your body movements can and will affect how you feel and how others perceive you, and also remember that you can proactively help to project a confident image with some simple, minor adjustments any time of the day.

Body Language Quick Hints

The way that we communicate non-verbally with our appearance, posture, gesture, gaze and expression can be such a powerful tool in the way that we feel and when communicating with others.

The manner in which you communicate your interpersonal skills are very important.  Effective communication is vital if you are going to succeed no matter what you are doing.

The way in which we communicate with people is broken down into component parts, and it is popularly believed that people to whom we are speaking understand what we say by interpreting these different elements in varying proportions.  The 7-38-55 ‘rule’ is popular in lore, but it’s based on a small and limited experiment done in the 1960s.  However, even if the numbers are not exact, think of these general principle of proportions:


· 7% of our message is interpreted from the words we use, including grammar.


· 38% is picked up from our voice – speed, tone, pitch, rhythm etc.


· 55% is what the other person sees – our body language, gestures, environment etc.

The “3 Vs” would then make up a fourth – VIBE – the overall feeling we send and receive.

Whole books are written on body language, but here are some quick fixes and recommendations that you should start to put into practice:

· Dress to win – Look at your appearance and ask yourself:

· Do I feel confident?

· Do I look confident?

· What could I do with my appearance to give me the edge?

· Handshakes – Never give a limp wrist handshake, make sure it is firm but not too hard

· Smile a lot more than you have been doing – even if you are a comedian! Smiles generate trust, openness and more smiles!

· Walk tall with your head and shoulders back. Walk at a quick, controlled pace breathing calmly.

· When you talk to people look them straight in the eye.

· Keep on moving – Motion creates positive emotion!

· If you are ever feeling down, just have a look at your body language and change it immediately. You WILL start to feel better and more confident immediately. Take a brisk walk if need be.

· First impressions count – so when you are going to meet people for the first time, think of what first impression you want to give them. A smiling face? A good remark? Firm handshake? Etc. Life is filled with first impressions…over and over and over again!

· Take more notice of other peoples’ body language. You can normally tell what others are feeling by the way that they are moving and using their body too. You can use this to your advantage when you are more aware of it. This is useful in meetings, negotiations, presentations, sales pitches, and yes, even on dates!