Saturday, June 14, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2850: Hillary Clinton, Sonia Sotomayor and Costco - Body Language Tells (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Sonia Sotomayor (yes, the Supreme Court Justice) was shopping at Costco today and dropped by to say hello to Hillary Clinton who was there for a scheduled book signing. Mrs. Clinton is on a nation-wide tour promoting her new book, "Hard Choices" - which most speculate is itself a pre-campaign for the 2016 U.S. Presidency.

Mrs. Clinton has not formally announced her bid for the White House. However this brief interaction serves as good body language lesson addressing one of the weaknesses the former Secretary of State's has in building rapport with the electorate.

Note: Since the original writing of this post, the source video has since been deleted from YouTube.

While it Sonia Sotomayor's appearance certainly seems to surprise the former First Lady (Video of event above with photos below), the hug she gave was across a table approximately 30 inches (0.76 meters) wide. Mrs. Clinton was criticized in 2008 for being too business-like as well as for not being warm, approachable and a less-than-friendly version of the "every-woman". In fact, when she teared up at a campaign event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (7 January 2008 - Video Below) - it was a key moment in her campaign - as she enjoyed a significant boost in the polls. People felt much more connected with her during such a sincere moment of emotion. Here, Mrs. Clinton should have stepped out and around front of the table - walking to Sotomayor and gave her a sincere hug. This would have built significant rapport with Sotomayor - and (more importantly) vicariously with every single person who watched it - now and in the future. Hugs and handshakes should never be given over a table - unless of course you want to destroy rapport.

A few seconds later (after the hug) Clinton and Sotomayor display a forward leaning, hands wide, on-the-table nonverbal. While some of this is residual from the low quality hug, this body language is more significantly a dominant and alpha configuration by two of the most powerful women in the country.

While it is common knowledge that a candidate's "likability" is the primary component to winning over the middle third of the electorate - most politicians don't realize (nor do their campaign managers) that the largest component of a candidate's "likability" is their body language. Elections are won and lost based on nonverbals. Ignore them and lose.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2849: Netherlands Victorious Over Spain, Vicente Del Bosque, Negative Self-Evaluation and Regret - Body Language Tells

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2783: Hillary Clinton asked again about 2016 - Body Language Tells

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2564: Hillary Clinton Stumping for Terry McAuliffe ... but Did She Hint at Running in 2016?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2473:  Anthony Weiner & Huma Abedin Part III  When Shoulder-to-Shoulder is broken

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2392:  Zoë Saldaña on Jimmy Kimmel -  Rapport Builders, Alpha Behavior & Dominance Displays

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2669: Sara Bareilles and the Body Language of the Rationalization Rapport Empathy Expression

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2523:  Hillary Clinton, Body Language and the 2016 Presidency -  Rapport Builder vs. Rapport Destroyer