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What Steve Jobs' Body Language Means for Apple Stock

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Body language is undoubtedly one of the most important forms of human communication. Especially when someone isn’t talking.

Which is why I was so fascinated by a recent article in Forbes in which body language expert Carol Kinsey Goman examined Steve Jobs' recent performance at the iPad 2 unveiling. Her conclusion?

“One simple gesture caught my attention. Seventeen times in the nine-minute clip I viewed, Jobs held both hands behind his back. There are two reasons why I was surprised to see Jobs do this:

1) In our prehistory, it was vitally important to see an approaching person’s hands in order to evaluate his intent. If hands were concealed they could very well be holding a rock, a club, or other means of doing us harm. In a business setting today, with no logical reason to do so, we still instinctively mistrust someone who keeps his hands out of sight -- in his pockets, below the table, or behind his back.

2) It’s a deviation from his baseline. Reading body language is all about comparing someone’s current nonverbal action to his “baseline,” or normal behavior. If Jobs typically delivered speeches holding his hands behind his back -- it would be an expected move, with no particular meaning attached to it. But Steve Jobs is a master nonverbal communicator -- usually employing gestures that are expansive, illustrative and flowing. So this is an uncharacteristic gesture that most likely signals a new tentativeness, a sense of unease.”

But that’s just the beginning. Exploring Mr. Jobs’ body language is a full-fledged exercise in deep psychological analysis, and what we can learn from it -- and what it means for Apple -- is nothing short of fascinating.

So, after almost minutes spent researching the science of body language, I humbly present Minyanville’s own analysis of Steve Jobs.

“Rave Ball Formation”

Here, Jobs has positioned his hands in what experts often refer to as the “Rave Ball Formation.” That is, when a raver pantomimes moving a pulsing, electric ball of energy all around his or her body. This is a clear indication that Jobs cannot control his own creative impulses, and almost surely spells disaster for the company.

“The Glass Ceiling Formation”

One of the most common gestures found among CEOs, the “Glass Ceiling Formation” is created when the hand sort of makes a line in the air, somewhere around neck level, or thereabouts. You’ll notice that the angle of Jobs' hand approaches 180 degrees, creating a ceiling-like effect. Also, Steve is wearing glasses. Hence, the Glass Ceiling. This subliminally refers to Apple’s attitude toward women in the workplace, and almost surely spells disaster for the company.

“The Hidden Penguin Formation”

To the untrained eye, the gesture above seems to suggest that Jobs is angry, accusatory, maybe even enraged. In fact, this particular positioning of the hand is used when shadow puppeteers cast adorable penguins on walls. Penguins, as we all know, are small-brained creatures ill-suited for the temperate climates of Cupertino, so this almost surely spells disaster for the company.

“The Drunken Flamingo Formation”

In this wonderful formation, Jobs has taken a cue from the ancient Mayan rain dance known as “The Drunken Flamingo.” Primarily used to scare off devils, this full-body pose typically implies joyousness in spite of difficulty. However, because Jobs' right arm bends at the elbow, the pose demonstrates an unwillingness to face adversity square-on, and almost surely spells disaster for the company.

“I Have a Thumb Formation”

One of man’s most primal gestures, the “I Have a Thumb Formation,” has been used for millions of years to non-verbally communicate the presence of a thumb to other animals and stuff. As you can see, Jobs' four fingers are there, too, and so is his palm. This is good. But in Steve’s right hand is a tool of some kind which he is using to point out the presence of a thumb. That Steve would resort to such an antiquated gesture confirms that he’s just only now coming to grips with his own humanity, and almost surely spells disaster for the company.

And there you have it. 
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.