Thursday, September 25, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2963: Barack Obama at the United Nations General Assembly regarding ISIS/ISIL, 24 September 2014 - Body Language Faux Pas (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Barack Obama, along the other heads-of-state, has been meeting at the United Nations General Assembly the last several days. During this segment of his speech where he spoke of ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State, President Obama committed a highly significant body language faux pas on multiple occasions - which for him is rare. In this brief video (above), the President used the index finger (forefinger) point nine times. Some were certainly less obtrusive - such as pointing downwards (3:06 - 3:10) and others when he pointed briefly at himself or to his right (2:48, 2:45 and 2:19 - 2:21), however with the majority of these - he pointed directly at the audience (see below). Index finger pointing is a profoundly negative nonverbal and moreover it's considered universally offensive in virtually every culture and subculture on the Earth. This has been true throughout recorded history.

The President has much better body language instinct than average - so why was he off his game yesterday? People who point with their forefingers with high frequency (and not just on a given occasion) have an extremely high rate of narcissism. It is also important to consider the autism spectrum disorders. Barack Obama does not point frequently. Two other possible causes include anger and/or alpha emotional tones - both of which are playing out in these speeches. What are some other thought-emotions correlative with a forefinger point?

Politicians will often point at their audiences when in front of their political base - which is still not recommended (yet there is wider latitude for mistakes is allotted in such scenarios). However it is very unwise to do so when seeking rapport, votes or trying to building a coalition - all of which are needed here.

There were several other highly significant nonverbal errors used in this speech. How many of these have you also committed recently?

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2962: Denzel Washington, Lenny Kravitz & David Letterman - Body Language of ....

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2360:  Bill Clinton and the Body Language of a  "Loose Hand, Palm Up Point"

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2672: Dennis Rodman, Kim Jong Un and the Finger-Point Hand-Chop, Body Language from North Korea

Nonverbal Communication Analysis #2160:  Index Finger (Forefinger) Pointing in Politics -  The Third (and Final) 2012 Presidential Debates -  Body Language of Being an Alpha Male without Offending

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2490:  Hillary Clinton and the Two-Handed Point -  The American Bar Association, Body Language and  Variations on a Theme

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2322:  Jeb Bush & Matt Lauer - Which one is the Narcissist?  Body Language Red Flags

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2914: Fran├žois Hollande, Anxiety and Dialing up his Alpha

0:40 - 0:41

1:58 - 1:59

2:19 - 2:21

2:23 - 2:24



3:06 - 3:10

3:37 - 3:39

4:19 - 4:21