Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2605: President Obama and Health Insurance Cancellation Fix - and an Alpha-Beta Hybrid Body Language Illustrator (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Today President Obama gave a speech in which a proposed a fix for the millions of cancelled health insurance policies precipitated by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Barack is much better than most at using body language illustrators (commonly called "hand gestures" or just "gestures") than the vast majority of politicians. 

For example, during the 6:06 to 6:10 segment, the President is shown using the "Split Finger Fastball" with his right hand. This illustrator acquires its name from its close resemblance to the hand configuration used by baseball pitchers to throw a pitch using the same name.

The split finger fastball illustrator is not fully alpha (hyper-assertive, dominant, over-confident, etc.) - yet it is far from being highly-beta (demure, acquiescent, weak, etc.). It is a good alpha-beta hybrid nonverbal, however in general it leans toward the alpha end of the spectrum. It is important to note however, that since the President is using his non-dominant hand in this example (he's left handed), this indicates he is not feeling quite as confident as he would if this were his left hand. And surprise - the President here is trying to explain his fix for the recent and massive health insurance cancellations. 

Thus Mr. Obama asserts power and authority and as long as he does not display this gesture excessively - also avoids coming across too domineering or offensive. Extremely few speakers and "leaders" are aware of the extreme importance and effect of nuancing the alpha-beta balance of their nonverbal signals at just the right times has on establishing, building and keeping rapport.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2519:  Vladimir Putin Speaks Syria, Chemical Weapons and Disarmament -  Body Language just after his New York Times Op-Ed

Negotiation Secret # 702: The Dominant Spider - Muammar Gaddafi (Moammar Gadhafi)

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2575: The "Bishop of Bling" - German Catholic Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst's Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2125:  Presidential Debate Body Language - George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot 1992

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2116:  Michele Bachman's Hands and Seeing between the lines

Negotiation Secret # 559: Pointing at a Witness - Michael Jackson's Wrongful Death Trial

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1918:  Vladimir Putin - Pointing with Pen Surrogates, Sharp vs. Blunt