Saturday, August 1, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3264: Hillary Clinton, Likability, Perceived Trustworthiness and Body Language (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

The above video was Hillary Clinton's first national interview since declaring her candidacy (published on 12 July 2015). In political circles Hillary Clinton's likability has long been a topic of discussion and debate. While there are many components which will establish and grow a person's likability, the majority of these are nonverbally conveyed. Along with vocal qualities and other paralanguage parameters - these characteristics are extremely under-appreciated and thus too little attention is given in an effort to study and improve these attributes. Likability has a profound influence on the level of trust people have toward one another - and the relative lack of her perceived trustworthiness is a huge problem, some would say the biggest problem, standing between Mrs. Clinton and the White House. 

There were several nonverbal signals Hillary displayed during this interview which were not only not rapport building - but rapport destroying. One of these, along with other some simultaneous signals, is discussed here.

Mrs. Clinton has a pronounced pattern of having her head and neck close to vertical when listening to a person speak, ask a question, etc. However when it's her turn to talk and particularly when she's answering a question which requires some defense, Hillary leans her head and neck backwards (and sometimes her whole torso too).

This backwards head/neck tilting configuration sends signals of arrogance. Recall the old colloquial, "looking down your nose at him" - a strong signal of a patronizing emotional tone.

In this moment condescending feelings are heightened even further with the addition of bilateral partial eyelid closure despite the presence of an upward contracted forehead.

These three nonverbal signals clustered together have a particularly strong distancing effect.

In this context, another distancing amplifier is a sideways turn (rotation) of the head/neck in conjunction with the backwards tilting.

Prolonged eyelid closure also amplifies an arrogant attitude, further distancing the middle third of the electorate - those who may - or may not be considering voting for Hillary in 2016. 

Words alone will not make others trust you. And skilled body language is not simply a few hand gestures used here and there at the right times. If Mrs. Clinton wants to win the White House next November, she simply must nuance her nonverbal behavior to a much greater degree.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3263: Barack Obama on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" - The Sarcastic Bobble Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3127: Hillary Clinton's Press Conference and a Body Language Down-regulator of Sincerity

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3169: Baltimore Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez regarding the Death of Freddie Gray 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3207: Vladimir Putin, Pope Francis and Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3134: Ted Cruz to Announce his Candidacy for 2016 Presidential Race - Why He Will Never Win 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2952: Kmart's "Not a Christmas Commercial" - No Place for Arrogance 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3019: Bill Cosby, Rape Allegations, AP Interview