Friday, June 8, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1865:
Five Presidents in the Oval Office
Who has the Lowest Confidence?
Who is the Least Comfortable?

This image was taken in the Oval Office shortly after Barack Obama took office in January of 2009. For those to who may not know them by sight, from left to right is George H.W. Bush, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Note the "Fig Leaf" positioning of Obama's hands. Despite the fact that he was (is) the current President and is the most powerful person in the country, he has the least confidence and comfort of the five men in this picture. They've all "been there, done that and thank you very much" - and Barack hadn't. It's natural and very human that he would assume this body language posture (although no body language expert would have advised him to pose in this manner). He sincerely respects the other men, their experience and what they've accomplished - even those of other political party. Outside the confines of a religious ceremony or a funeral though, it's one of the few times you'll see a President display this nonverbal.

See also:

Secret # 415: When is it Appropriate for a President to Stand in the "Fig-leaf"?

Secret # 1563: Geithner & Holder in Deference to The President - One Occasion to Use the Fig-Leaf

Analysis # 441: Bill Clinton's Rapport and His Temporary Universe

Secret # 517: Respect for Vaclav Havel

Secret # 593: Projecting and Detecting Confidence

Secret # 99: One Gesture a Leader Should (almost) Never Display