By most accounts, Michelle Obama did a good job in her speech last night in her endorsement of Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention. However, going beyond her spoken words and looking at her body language, there were several things she could have definitely improved upon. One of these nonverbals highlighted in this post is what is known as a "Political Point".
The political point resembles what many would call an "Okay sign". It's a "softer" way to point (thus an "Alpha-Beta Hybrid) and therefore it's used instead of an index finger point (AKA a forefinger point, which should almost never be used).
Michelle Obama, to a fairly dramatic degree, overused the political point. While it is indeed an example of an "Alpha-Beta Hybrid" - and the display of this class of nonverbal signals are to be encouraged, the political point is somewhat of an exception. The reason for this is that it's a gesture that's almost exclusively used in the political realm - and while this alone makes it suspect, politicians also tend to rather naively overuse it. Anytime a body language display is overused, at the very least, it's considered a bad habit or poor form. It also can be a signal of anxiety. In addition, although it's not a reason in this particular context (we know this by Mrs. Obama's other nonverbal displays), it can also be a signal of insincerity.
This website serves as an objective reference source for the science and art of Body Language/Nonverbal Communication. In an effort to be both practical and academic, many examples from/of varied cultures, politicians, professional athletes, legal cases, public figures, etc., are cited in order to teach and illustrate both the interpretation of others’ body language as well as the projection of one’s own nonverbal skills in many different contexts – not to advance any political, religious or other agenda.
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