Body language is in the news more than ever with the presidential election upon us and in the aftermath of the presidential debates. Good public speaking embraces appropriate and consistent body language. President Obama and Governor Romney make every effort to speak the right words and use the right body language.
There is substance and there is style . Having substance and style is the ideal.
However, you can’t have the right style unless you have the right body language.
Many an election has been won or lost depending upon the candidate’s body language. To keep this blog posting fair and balanced, I will not talk about a specific candidate’s body language. Rather, I’ll provide some important guidelines which will give you easy tools to analyze body language in general, as well as your own body language during casual conversations and in business presentations.
Coming across as confident in your conversation and body language will result in making others feel more comfortable with you.
Throughout the election, pay close attention to the gestures of each candidate. First, consider each of the following gestures on their own. Then I’ll share with you the concept of “gesture clusters.” Consider … Rapid eye blinking generally means someone is uncomfortable and/or not telling the truth. Rubbing one’s nose while speaking, can indicate uncertainty. If the candidate is saying he has the ability to improve the economy and simultaneously his shoulders shrug – you can be almost guaranteed that he does not have confidence in what he is saying – which translates into those watching not feeling comfortable either. If a candidate looks at his watch, it may be interpreted that he can’t wait to leave the venue. We give our own interpretations to a candidate’s gestures.
Considering the above, there’s always the possibility that the candidate may have gotten a piece of dust in his eye causing the rapid eye blinking; maybe the candidate genuinely has a nose with an itch and is rubbing his nose for that reason; maybe the candidate is shrugging his shoulders to release a muscle spasm in his back; maybe the candidate’s watch is feeling too tight on his wrist so he glances down at the watch to wish the pain away. All possibilities. However, from a plausibility stand point, each of these gestures generally stand on their own as telling a truth through gesturing versus the words being spoken.
If each of the gestures mentioned are happening simultaneously, then we have gesture clusters. If the candidate’s words are not in alignment with his body language, then within a given moment we could easily see rapid eye blinking; the rubbing of his nose; the shrugging of his shoulders; his eyes looking at his watch.
Body language is truly a powerful secret language when you study it. During this election and in your daily life, become a student of body language … your success and powers of perception will abound.