Friday, April 26, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2379:
Bill Clinton's Speech at the
George W. Bush Presidential Library Opening
Body Language of Former and Current President

Yesterday, the four living former U.S. Presidents as well as Barack Obama gathered on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas for the dedication of the George W. Bush Memorial Library and Museum. It was an intriguing sight to see them all together. Needless to say, there was a ton of great body language displayed. Below are some great examples of nonverbal behavior. These all can be viewed in dynamic context within the video above.

At the 0:11 mark, just after Bill Clinton lets the crowd know that Barbara Bush let him see some of George W. Bush's paintings - the former First Lady takes on the expression of fear - not knowing what he's about to say. This can be most easily seen in her mouth - with its corners pulling backwards and down. Mrs. Bush's eyes momentarily open wider too - most easily see in her left eye and when viewed in the video. A second after this, her expression morphs into a sincere smile when Clinton says that the paintings were great. While Mrs. Bush displays the high conventional steeple of confidence-alpha-assertiveness (and sometimes more), here it is forced (and more consciously initiated). Her subconscious displays of fear betray her (momentary) sincere feelings.

Here Bill Clinton can be seen biting his whole bottom lip (0:32 - 0:33 after another joke). This bite of the entire lower lip (as opposed to just one side) is a common nonverbal displayed to suppress a laughter or full smile display when they've made a good-natured, yet somewhat still mischievous joke. It's as if to say, "I've been a bad boy".

Clinton is also blushing in this photo.

This image was taken the moment after Bill Clinton pointed out to George Bush that, "...and you beat me to be a Grandfather". Despite the fact that he had been President for eight years, being a grandfather is a new experience. He is proud of this, yet another pointing it out before the World provokes anxiety. This self-preening tie adjusting (1:03 - 1:04) is a signal that Bush - an alpha male - is still human - and here he's "Dialing up his alpha" - ascending to the role of grandfather and yet feeling the extra weight of this responsibility and role. A common female analog of the male tie adjust (or the similar shirt cuff or wrist watch adjust) is the "Hair Adjust Behind Ear" or HABE.

Here after Clinton again calls attention to Barbara Bush, President Obama can be seen withdrawing his arm (1:34 - 1:37) which was just a moment before touching Mrs. Bush's upper back/shoulder in what is a breach of her personal space and a display of false affection. When Clinton addresses Barbara Bush, Obama's faux pas surfaces to his consciousness and he withdrawals his touch. Alpha personalities of all types, particularly men commit this nonverbal mistake all too often. They believe it is somehow a display of affection - however it is really a dominance display. And while the recipient may try to smile - emotions of discomfort are being felt and the corresponding body language is displayed elsewhere (can you spot it?).

Here Bush 43 can be seen sincerely smiling, blushing and although its dynamics can't be seen here in a still image, he's in the middle of a shoulder shrug (1:53), Bill Clinton just let us all know that during George W's second term, Bush would periodically call up Bill and talk politics. This embarrasses Bush who was apparently seeking advice from his predecessor. The shrug is as if to say, "...Well Ah shucks, sure I called up Bill, who wouldn't?" - yet he's quite embarrassed

See also:

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1499:  Bill Clinton's Empathy for Eric Fehrnstrom and  Mitt Romney ... What's Your Sincerity Quotient?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2128:  Mitt Romney's & Bill Clinton's Body Language  during Mitt's Joke at 2012 Clinton Global Initiative

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 441:  Bill Clinton's Rapport and His Temporary Universe

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2125:  Presidential Debate Body Language -  George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot 1992

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2306:  George W. Bush trapped in Room -  Body Language's Microexpression of Fear

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2131:  Presidential Debate Highlights on CBS -  Bush vs. Gore 2000  Gore's Invasion of Bush's Personal Space

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2150:  Body Language Advice for  President Obama and Governor Romney in Tonight's Debate