President Trump Met Vladimir Putin for the First Time. Here's What a Body Language Expert Saw
A body language expert said President Trump's seating position during the meeting was "all about manliness"
All eyes were on U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday when they sat down for their first face-to-face meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.
The meeting, which had been scheduled to last 30 minutes, stretched to more than two hours. Trump reportedly raised the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, though Putin denied any meddling on Moscow’s part.
The two leaders’ conversation included discussions on “Ukraine, Syria, some bilateral and other issues,” according to the Associated Press. They also discussed “fighting terrorism and cybersecurity.”
Trump and Putin gave brief public remarks before their meeting. “We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, for the United States and for everybody concerned,” Trump said. “And it’s an honor to be with you.”
“I’m delighted to be able to meet you personally, Mr. President,” Putin said through an interpreter. “And I hope, as you have said, our meeting will yield positive results.”
TIME spoke with Patti Wood, a body language expert, to read between the lines. Here are some key takeaways:
‘He’s the one that’s initiating’
The first glimpse of Trump and Putin came before their official meeting, when they were seen shaking hands in a video shared by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet. Wood spotted something unusual in that footage.
By comparison, Wood said Trump’s handshake with Merkel on Thursday showed the German leader making the first move.
‘He’s supportive underneath Putin’s arm’
In the same video, Trump taps Putin’s arm with his left hand during their handshake and later pats his back — a gesture that typically indicates support, Wood said.
By comparison, Trump’s handshakes with other world leaders — including his recent white-knuckle grip with French President Emmanuel Macron at the NATO Summit — have drawn attention for being awkward or aggressive.
‘His slouch is a little bit more pronounced’
Trump’s behavior during sit-down remarks with Putin before their private meeting resembled his stance in other settings, Wood said.
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“Trump has a standard seating position in these scenarios, where he has his legs spread apart and he’s doing that particular steeple pose with his hands clasped and pointed between his legs,” she said. “That’s all about manliness.”
But she noticed some slight differences on Friday compared to Trump’s previous interactions with leaders, including his post-election meeting with former President Barack Obama in the White House. For example, she said, Trump faced toward Putin during most of their exchange, and he again initiated their handshakes.
This article originally appeared on Time.com