Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2047:
Barack Obama does not Believe

In this video filmed today in San Antonio, Texas, President Obama commits several body language displays that a President should never use. Typically, Barack Obama is far better than most when it comes to nonverbal communication, which gives these faux pas more weight.

At the very beginning of this segment (0:00 - 0:03), the President is rubbing/scratching just in front of his right ear. A few seconds later (0:12 - 0:16) he rubs his bottom lip with his right index finger. Both of these facial self-touching gestures (Manipulators, Adaptors or Pacifiers - aka MAPs) are highly consistent with anxiety and in this context, indicate the President does not believe the statements he is making regarding Texas becoming a "battleground state" in time for the November election.

The placement of his left hand in his left front-hip pocket (0:36 - 0:44) is another nonverbal signal which any leader, especially a President should never display, particularly during a speech. It indicates emotional-dissonance and demonstrates he is very uncomfortable with the statement he is making - anticipating what Mitt Romney will be saying about how Obama is handling the economy. This makes perfect sense - as he is self-critical when he puts himself temporarily in his opponent's shoes. None the less, it is body language which detracts from his rapport and momentarily projects a more demure and beta-male persona.

See also:

Analysis # 339: When a Lie is Heard or Told - Jon Corzine

Analysis # 1835: Dario Farnchitti Wins His Third Indianapolis 500 - His Disingenuous "Thank You"

Analysis # 717: Barry Bonds and the Obstruction of Justice