The full body steeple occurs by placing both hands up and behind the head while seated. The postures is completed by combining it with the figure-four-leg cross which happens by placing the ankle of the opposite foot across the knee, or made even more dominant by leaving the legs splayed wide open. As we saw before, the figure-four-leg position is an abbreviated crotch display that builds status by drawing other’s attention to the midsection, while the arms behind the head posture shows arrogance because it openly exposes the body to attack. Remember that dominant people don’t worry about being attacked and often show this confidence by overexposing themselves and their vulnerable areas to challengers. The language of the crotch says that “I am safe in displaying because no one would dare try to attack me”. It also says “I have a big penis and I’m showing it off because I think yours is probably smaller”. To women, on the other hand, it’s an offering, as in “Here it is, come and get it”. Just like magicians use sleight of hand to draw attention to or away from the action, men use similar tricks to draw attention to areas they wish others to admire. Is it a mistake that men’s neckties are large pieces of cloth in the shape of an arrow? What does the arrow point to? Crotch emphasis, can and is done, with the help of pointed fingers, by wrapping the thumb around belt loops and dangling the remaining fingers in their vicinity or through a crotch adjustment. Baseball players are the world’s most prevalent crotch adjusters! I wonder if they’re trying to get at something.
The full body steeple can be used to intimidate others, or convey a relaxed, cocky disposition, but as always, body language needs to be taken in context. The accompanying dialogue will help tell us what is really going on. Professionals, such as lawyers, accountants, managers, bosses, and others that tend to take their superiority to higher levels than the rest of us, will be seen using the full body steeple.
To break a steepler, try opening them with honest gestures while leaning forward. Honest gestures might foster mirroring where they might drop their steeple, while leaning forward will put them on edge, especially if you near them in a feigned attack. The open, honest gestures, in your cue cluster will serve to confuse them. You may also try pulling back into a seated and relaxed position, in effect, joining them in their dominance. Avoiding eye contact to appear aloof by looking over their heads, or submitting to other’s in the room, will create an edge which is unsettling to those who wish to appear dominant. Remember, dominant people want to be in control at all times so any signal you create that leads them to believe that you are capable of acting independently will set them back. Another more diplomatic gesture is to hand them a sheet of paper or document forcing them to lean forward to take it. Standing over them is a more brazen technique and one that won’t necessarily yield favourable results. This type of encroachment onto territorial individuals is likely to instigate a confrontation. Mirroring the full body steeple gesture will probably have the most profound effect since you are displaying that you have equal status. This is certain to unnerve them.