Thursday, August 14, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2920: Barack Obama, Michael Brown and Ferguson Police - Recognizing Subtle Alpha Tells (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Today Barack Obama addressed the nation regarding the recent death of 18 year-old Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The President recognized both those using the town's angst and unrest at Mr. Brown's death as a excuse for looting and violence. He also spoke of Ferguson's police force violating the First Amendment rights of those peacefully assembled and protesting as well as arresting reporters (and allegedly others) without probable cause (a Fourth Amendment violation).

It is easy to imagine any U.S. President, republican or democrat, making a similar speech in such a scenario.

The video above (images captured below) provides several excellent examples of a nonverbal signal of a specific alpha body language tell that goes unnoticed by all but the most observant. We all know that the President is the most powerful person in this or any room in the United States. He doesn't have to spell it out for us. And yet as skilled as Mr. Obama is with his body language, he projects his Presidential power in a multitude of ways. Watch the video first and see if you can spot any in this example.

In other more everyday situations - for example when a person is trying to make us believe that they are our peer - and yet they really believe they are superior to us (e.g., depositions, negotiations, arbitrations, mediations, sales settings, political scenarios, corporate leadership, physicians attempting bedside manner, etc.). In these cases, both their thoughts and their nonverbals will be disparate from their words.

Again, in this example, the President and everyone else knows he's the top dog - yet it does serve to illustrate an important tell. Did you spot it yet?

Exaggerated mouth movements when speaking - above and beyond what is needed to normally pronounce any given word - is a solid alpha signal giveaway.

Often these "hyper-pronounced" words aren't necessarily the most crucial ones to emphasize - such as with this example, seen at 0:22, when the President says, "... tasked ...".

Note that near complete or complete eyelid closure occurs (a prolonged blink) frequently accompanying these exaggerated lip/mouth configurations.

Here Mr. Obama says, "... exactly ..." during the 0:49 mark.

A fraction of a second later still saying the word "... exactly ...". His eyes begin to open and yet the mouth remains hyperbolic.

Here POTUS says, "... accounts ..." at the 2:10 mark).

As with most nonverbal examples, these are often best appreciated within the dynamic context of video. This is no exception.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2919: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama - Friends? - will they Hug it Out?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2460:  Third Year Law Student-Intern Channa Lloyd African-American on Zimmerman's Legal Team An Under-appreciated Alpha Body Language Signal

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1548:  Trayvon Martin's Death -  George Zimmerman and his First Court Appearance

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2835: Jay Carney Resigns - President Obama Shows Us a Body Language Tell

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2812: Barack Obama to Heckler, "You kinda screwed up my ending, but that's Okay" - Body Language