Monday, September 7, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3302: Hillary Clinton, the Recent MSNBC Interview, Low Likability and Diminished Trustworthiness (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Hillary Clinton recently gave an interview with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC. It was just her third national interview since announcing her candidacy for President.

Mrs. Clinton has a lifetime of political experience. And despite the fact she didn't win the democratic nomination for President in 2008, Hillary has had a lot of victories. Much like a successful attorney, physician, teaching or corporate professional, etc. - very often once a person has fairly high level of political success, their behavior up to that point becomes validating - even thought a fair amount of is not necessarily good. Thus it also becomes significantly solidified and difficult to change (e.g., What will get me further is just more of what got me to this level - right? Wrong.).

With respect to increasing her chances of winning the Oval Office - this of course doesn't mean that Mrs. Clinton needs to change everything, but she does very much fall into this success-habit-validation trap. We all do it to some degree. This phenomenon may prevent us from improving - and even seeing our weaknesses. Moreover when you're high in any given food-chain, your subordinates become very hesitant in speaking truth to power - and like you - they largely won't even see these faults.

It's no secret that Mrs. Clinton has problems with her likability and trustworthiness. She's hit a plateau here and has even experienced declines.

One (of many) nonverbal faux pas that Hillary (and many others) commits is opening their eyelids too widely during conversation, interviews and speeches. It's extremely crucial to note that she displays this illustrator chronically. Nearly every time she's trying to emphasize an issue - Mrs. Clinton's eyes open wide. This is NOT natural and leaves people emotionally uncomfortable. It's somewhat analogous to, when with the written language - a person places multiple exclamation marks at the end of a sentence. They do so when they feel their words lack sincerity. Simultaneous with the widely opened eyes, we also see elevated eyebrows and forehead musculature (the entire width of forehead).

Note: we all make this same expression from time to time, but it's the chronic nature here that is important.

The over-use of this eyelid-eyebrow-forehead nonverbal cluster backfires - and will be interpreted as patronizing, condescending and even arrogant. While certainly not the only influencing factor, Mrs. Clinton must absolutely stop this if she is to improve her likability and perception of honesty with the electorate. No healthy person wants to feel as if someone is talking-down to them. Mrs. Clinton or any politician/"leader" need to be extremely aware of when they're sending such signals - and Hillary is not.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3301: Sarah Palin re: Bush vs. Trump regarding speaking Spanish - "When you're here, let's Speak American!"

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3202: FIFA's Jack Warner Cites 'The Onion' in His Own Defense - Insincerity Body Language Tells 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2945: Roger Goodell's Interview regarding Ray Rice - Denies NFL saw Video before Monday 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3053: Giada De Laurentiis, Insincere Smiles and Divorce