Monday, August 18, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2924: Michael Brown, Captain Ron Johnson, Church Rally and Ferguson, Missouri - Body Language Tells (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

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. 

Most of the time, the hands clasped in front of the body is not recommended - particularly for those in such a high-alpha/leadership position. Had Captain Johnson been giving a different speech in a different setting, it is very probable he would not have had his hands configured in such a manner. However in the context of a memorial service (even though he is not clergy) his clasping hands is variation of a prayer and more specifically shows deferential behavior and respect to Michael Brown, his family and those attending this Church rally.

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. 

Here Captain Johnson displays a "Loose fist, thumb up" illustrator. This nonverbal is used instead of pointing toward the audience. It displays some alpha characteristics without being too much so - thus an alpha-beta hybrid.

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. 

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2923: Barack Obama, Jaw Clenching and Diffusing Anger - Body Language as a Form of Biofeedback

Nonverbal Communication Analysis #2160:  Index Finger (Forefinger) Pointing in Politics - The Third (and Final) 2012 Presidential Debates - Body Language of Being an Alpha Male without Offending

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2668: Ryan Seacrest - Less Offensive Variations on Pointing - Body Language Nuance

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1233:  Putin's Pointing Pen

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2605: President Obama and Health Insurance Cancellation Fix - and an Alpha-Beta Hybrid Body Language Illustrator

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2710: Microsoft's New CEO Sayta Nadella's Body Language vs. Bill Gates