People point for various reasons. But why does Donald Trump point so often?
Index finger (forefinger) pointing is universally offensive and thus should be discouraged in all but the rarest of occasion across all cultures.
As a candidate or an office holder, choosing a particular journalist or audience member to ask a question is an obvious and common reason for a politician to point. Yet far superior to index finger pointing - and one which builds rapport rather than destroying it - would be with all the digits loosely extended, with the palm facing upward - and with the arm partially extended, such that the wrist, elbow, shoulders - and fingers are relaxed.
But what we are referring to here is a different scenario.
Have you ever become aware - often when someone who doesn't know you very well - is trying to manipulate you when they too often use words such as, "We", "Us", "Our", "Let's", etc. In situations which are disproportional and are out of context to your mutual familiarity or level of agreement, these words are part of a common form of verbal manipulation. They are attempting to make you feel as if you are one group, one family - and of one mindset. If you feel you're part of the same clan, you are more likely to agree to their decisions and their proposed course of action - and more likely to be manipulated. Yet you may not feel this emotionally comfortable is these settings. Listen to your instinct.
Donald Trump will often point to a person in the audience (which may be someone he knows - however many times it's a person he's never met) - and often it's a fellow politician beside him on stage. This pointing is a nonverbal form of this same phenomenon - what some call "Forced Teaming" (de Becker).
Candidate and now President Trump often used/uses these two forms of communication together - the verbal and the nonverbal (as well as a third component of "Paralanguage") as tools of forced teaming - thus increasing his odds of success. Of course, he's not the only politician who does this, but he is currently the most visible.
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