Ron Johnson, a Captain in the Missouri State Highway Patrol gave a very moving speech yesterday at a Rally in Ferguson, Missouri for the people of that town - and of course in the memory of Michael Brown. It was a very moving speech. Captain Johnson's empathy and sincerity quotients are extremely high. He is a both a natural leader and fantastic speaker - two qualities that few elected leaders ever achieve.
Pointing to Michael Brown's family members with a palm-up, flexed elbow, fingers slightly apart - is rarely seen - yet by far the best way Johnson, or anyone in his position should point at an audience. Anything else would be too alpha and offensive. By pointing in this manner, he both engenders and shows respect - as well as builds rapport.
This is the only negative critique on Captain Johnson for this speech - he was pointing slightly out towards the audience (and only partially down) with his index finger when he should have (and had probably meant to) point directly downward instead.
Again, while index finger pointing towards the audience is almost never recommended, one can point to oneself - as long as it is not done in arrogance. Here he was holding himself up to a higher standard - thus a humbling gesture.
Here Johnson points to the side - where there is no audience - when he references his son. Again - not pointing at the audience is nonverbally very wise.
Most "leaders" are often too aggressive in both their verbal language and their body language - when moderation, humility and empathy are called for. An alpha-beta hybrid (of which this is but one type) helps to maintain these assertive, alpha and leadership qualities without being arrogant, patronizing or condescending.
One last place that is acceptable to point - skyward. This nonverbal illustrator of course must also be made in with verbally congruency.
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