Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3318: Barack Obama and Pope Francis - Body Language Tells (PHOTOS)

Pope Francis arrived at Andrews Air Force Base (Joint Base Andrews) today - flying directly from Havana, Cuba. In this image he is shown in the company of the President, the First Lady, several Cardinals and many others - all meeting on the Tarmac.

Barack Obama is configured in a "Fig Leaf" position - which also known as "Genital Guarding". It's rare to find an image of Mr. Obama - or any previous President - republican or democrat - in this particular body language display outside the setting of a Papal visit .... or a few other notable occasions including funerals, weddings, at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier, ceremonies for the receiving of remains of fallen members of the military, meetings with other high-ranking religious figures - and when previous presidents are standing next to a current president during speeches, ceremonies, etc.

The fig leaf is an example of beta body language. Here in this context it's a display of deferential behavior and shows respect for Francis. In settings other than this or those others listed above, it would signal low confidence, weakness, the need for emotional protection or even physical protection and/or the acquiescence to another person or group - and would be read as such by most others. Outside of these specific scenarios, it's a nonverbal display that a head-of-state should never adopt.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3317: Scott Walker Drops Out of Presidential Race - A Classic Body Language Tell

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3257: Donald Trump at the Texas-Mexico Border - Body Language of a Hyper-Alpha 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3154: Marco Rubio's Body Language Tell 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3287: Hillary Clinton, Email Servers and Crisis Management 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3274: Chris Christie, Rand Paul, The Republican Debate and National Security

Dating & Romance Nonverbal Communication Secret No. 1010:  Rashida Jones - What Makes the Twinkle in Her Eye?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2745: Vladimir Putin Deception regarding Crimea