Today was a huge day for President Obama. There's a good chance that years from now, the average American and Barack Obama himself will remember this day more than any other of his eight years in the White House. The President's eulogy for Reverend Clementa C. Pickney was very moving. And Mr. Obama began his day giving another speech - in the Rose Garden addressing the World regarding the Supreme Court's 5 to 4 decision in favor of the full recognition of Marriage Equality.
From a nonverbal perspective both of these events could be dissected at great length - and indeed there are some fantastic body language teaching points. However in the first two seconds of the first event we can see a gesture that is rare for the American President - a "shirt cuff adjust". This is also referred to as a "false cuff adjust" - since the sleeve is rarely out of place. This is a common anxiety tell and is seen much more often in males and those of higher socioeconomic status. Yet we can slice this body language even thinner. This nonverbal "illustrator" signals us that the President's psyche is up-regulating his alpha qualities (He's attempting [successfully] to "psyche himself up"). Understanding such a flux in the alpha-beta dynamic is useful not only in "dialing-up" one's own assertiveness - but also in the recognition of a change in emotional tone in others - whether in a sales setting, a negotiation, the court room, the board room or the Roosevelt Room.
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