Sunday, April 12, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3152: Hillary Clinton First Campaign Ad - "Getting Started" (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

To no one's surprise, Hillary Clinton launched her candidacy for President today. Between Mrs. Clinton's official campaign and outside super-PACs, estimates of $2.5 Billion in donations are realistic. Yet despite this very substantial funding, Hillary's very first ad included some stunningly novice nonverbal faux pas.

This image is the very first frame from the very first scene featuring Mrs. Clinton (at 1:31).

Why on Earth is her back to the camera? This is about as basic as body language gets - turning your back to anyone projects disrespect, non-importance, destroys rapport and loses votes.

In this second Hillary-scene within the same ad, Mrs. Clinton is in a conversation with a gentleman in a restaurant or public gathering. Notice her torso - as well as her hips and feet although they're not visible, we clearly can see they're all pointed substantially away from him. This sends strong signals of low importance, disrespect and low mental-emotional engagement. It's essentially saying, "I'm here in body, but not in mind" and "I'm only here because I have to be here." (A Marshawn Lynch impersonation?).

A common over compensatory side-effect of such feigned and insincere presence is staring. Note that Hillary's eyes are locked on his - which does not "feel" natural (even to a child). Eye contact within the context of a healthy conversation has a random-movement pattern to it - and should for about 60-70% of the time, be centered around the other person's eyes, but not staring at them (Exceptions for this include romantic moments, other times of high affection - or during portions of an apology - of which none apply here). Moreover Hillary's upper eyelids are opened significantly wider than her normal baseline. This adds to the staring effect and projects a feeling of anger (What's another possible cause to her very-widely opened eyelids?).

Hillary's arm and shoulder are also blocking any sincere conversational-connection (which any good ad person should be attempting to engender within the context of a political advertisement). So although we're NOT this guy - we are feeling a vicarious rejection via Hillary's cold shoulder. Ouch.

Any candidate for high office will not win unless a majority of the electorate feels they are "likeable" - and a huge portion of such likeability has its foundation in body language. This is not to say leaders must pander or be weak in any way. But we simply want to - and need to like our leaders. To feel this way is fundamentally human. And if we feel they aren't respecting or liking us, we're not going to give them our votes. 

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See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3151: Barack Obama and Raúl Castro Shake Hands - Body Language

Negotiation Body Language Secret No. 483:  Tiger & Zach Johnson - handshake on the 18th - not so fast

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2765: Obama, Romney, Russia and Facial Asymmetry - Contempt at The Hague

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3134: Ted Cruz to Announce his Candidacy for 2016 Presidential Race - Why He Will Never Win - Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3106: Amazing Selfie Proposal - Body Language Components of Surprise

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3056: Jeb Bush Interview - 14 Dec. 2014 - Body Language Tells