Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2636: Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Pat Murray reach a Budget Agreement (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Today Representative Paul Ryan (R - WI) and Senator Pat Murray (D - WA) announced they have reached a compromise in a Federal Budget agreement. It sets a framework for the next two years, however it does not address the debt ceiling (which must be dealt with this spring).

Senator Murray is 5'0" (1.52 M) and Rep. Ryan is 6'1" (1.85 M). While it is illogical to some that height difference plays a role in perception, it is a well-documented phenomenon, especially in leadership scenarios. Taller people win elections with greater frequency, get hired easier, enjoy promotions more often, make higher salaries - and even live longer. Moreover it is no secret that taller men have a particular advantage when it comes to romance.

A specific height nullifying tactic Senator Murray should have employed - is to either not use a lectern or use one of minimalist design (with a very thin central beam or a see-through one made of Plexiglas). The conventional lectern served to emphasize her shorter stature and gave her a beta appearance. It made her look demure and weaker next to the significantly taller Ryan.

If no lectern were used (or one of minimalist design), it would allow us to see more of her. This would increase the audience's "trust coefficient" - as well as not make her look subservient to the taller and six-years more junior representative. Alternatively, she could have requested both her and Rep. Ryan be seated for the announcement.

Camera angles can also be adjusted, and brought closer to the speakers, so that an upward angle de-emphasizes the politicians' 13 inch (33 cm) height difference. If this were a debate setting, or similar scenario, separate lecterns would be used - where an unseen riser could minimize their disparity in stature.

Senator Murray would have also been well-advised to speak first in this budget announcement. This order would have increased her perceived value and leadership role in the public eye.

If you're a campaign manager or advise some who holds or is seeking political office, do not ignore height differences. Very importantly, compensating for height by these various methods will also engender an increased confidence and greater fluidity in speech.

What classic body language tells do you see in this video?

See also:

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 919:  How Newt Gingrich Stands Influences Voters

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 903:  The More I see of You ....  Plexiglass Podium

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1553:  Ann & Mitt Romney's Body Language at NRA Meeting

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2595: Barack Obama's Emotional Dissonance, Low Confidence and the "Turtle Retreat" - He Does Not Want To Be There

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2555: Nancy Pelosi's Beta Body Language - Dialing it Up to Alpha 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2150:  Body Language Advice for  President Obama and Governor Romney in Tonight's Debate 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2302:  Why Taller Women with Shorter Men Rarely Works Out -  Body Language of Height Disparity and the Optimum Romantic Height Ratio