In order to fully understand body language you must witness and analyze it in the real world. It’s important to study the book definitions and technical terms, but we must also put our knowledge to the test and analyze body language in its true environment. I started this series to help us learn body language, as well as remember the terms we learn throughout our course towards mastering body language. If you’re more of a visual learner, I highly suggest the video at the bottom of the blog!
I decided to start with a presidential debate as the first breakdown for the series. The clips are from the final presidential debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. I started off the video analyzing Mitt Romney’s non verbals and noticed that he doesn’t make many gestures in the beginning of the debate. You’ll see when we dive into the clips and analyze the body language of these two men. Later on in our courses we will be working on micro-expressions, so don’t feel overwhelmed if you can’t pick up on the subtle gestures right away.
At about the 10:30 mark we notice a slight head shake side to side (no) from Obama. This gesture occurs right when Obama says, “my job is to keep the American people safe, and that is what we’ve done over the past 4 years.” More specifically, the gesture occurs when Obama says, “..and that is what we’ve done..” Based on what we’ve learned about body language, we know that his non-verbal communication is not congruent with what he is saying verbally. This hints to us the Obama is not fully confident in the statement being made.
10:40 We notice a hand swipe from Obama. The reason this gesture stuck with me is because he swipes his hand before he mentions that he has “decimated Al Qaeda’s core leadership”. Essentially, this gesture symbolizes the wiping away of something or erasing. This example proves that we can pickup on what people may say in the future a split second before it’s said.
10:50 Again, we look at Obama’s body language. More specifically, we look at the gestures that Obama is making with his hands. The pointer finger pressed to the thumb, in a pinching-type fashion and pointed to ourselves is the gesture that he’s making. Obama does this a lot during speeches and presentations because the gesture presses the point, but is less in your face as the straight pointed finger. It’s an assertive gesture that is great to use during arguments.
11:07 Obama displays Finger on the thumb again while speaking.
11:36 Obama points finger (this gesture is much more assertive and in your face) and says, “Keep in mind I, (switches to his favorite pointer finger to thumb pinch) as well as the american people took leadership in organizing an international coalition…” Quickly, Obama realizes he shouldn’t be pointing fingers and taking credit for everything. He switches to a less aggressive gesture and includes the American people for credit.
12:34 You’ll see a lot of open palm gestures during this debate. Open palm gestures show honesty because you’re essentially saying you have nothing to hide. Many politicians are trained by coaches to display honest body language.
12:35 Romney shows signs of disagreement. Around this time Romney reacts to Obama stating that he has a flawed plan. Romney reacts with an eye brow raise or a surprised expression, as well as an unusually long eye lid close with a disagreeing smirk. He responds with, “well my strategy is pretty straight forward..”
14:17 At this moment in the clip we notice Obama giving a couple quick glances at the moderator. In this instance we want to look at how fast the head is turning. The quicker the head turn, the more anxious, angry, or nervous that person is. Romney mentions Assad murdering his own people and the head turns from Obama begin. Towards the end of the clip, Obama almost begins to talk over Romney. These gesture clusters show us that Obama was not too fond of what Romney was saying. I would assume it’s because Obama was not fully addressing the Syria problem when the debate occurred.
I am sure there were many more gestures within thee 14 minute clip. Perhaps there were some you caught and already knew about, if so please leave your findings in the comments for others to learn from!
For the visual learners, check out the video below and if you enjoy it please Subscribe
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