Thursday, July 14, 2016

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3622: Theresa May's First Speech as Prime Minister - Body Language Faux Pas (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Theresa May became the UK's new Prime Minister today. She also gave her first speech outside of Number 10. Understandably she was a bit nervous and this manifested in several ways - one in particular is discussed here.

The PM gestured with her hands and arms so minimally throughout the majority of the speech, that they did not emerge from behind the lectern until the 3:10 mark.

Certainly there are some who use their hands and arms too often or too dramatically (e.g., Bernie Sanders) - while others who use them in a fashion "out of sync" with their spoken words. In each of these cases, these "Illustrators" lose their potency or convey conflicting messages and thus backfire. However using one's hands and arms too minimally (or not at all) projects a timidity, a beta emotional tone and lack of confidence. Moreover when people hide their hands (in pockets, under the table, behind the lectern, etc.) we trust them less.

This particular lectern the Prime Minister is using should be perhaps 10 percent shorter - as well as reduced in width. It would help tremendously if it was made from a transparent material - and of a slimmer design. The more others see of you - the more they tend to trust you. The way this lectern is configured now, she's largely blocked - so that when Mrs. May makes minimal gestures with her hands, this remains unseen. The audience and camera only see it manifested as a shoulder shrug. Shrugs of course have their context (and some of Mrs. May's may indeed be "only" shrugs), but when these are displayed too frequently - it will further lower confidence (both of those using it as well as those watching).

One occasion when hands and arms usage should be quite minimal - is just after a tragedy.

This website serves as an objective reference source for the science and art of Body Language/Nonverbal Communication. In an effort to be both practical and academic, many examples from/of varied cultures, politicians, professional athletes, legal cases, public figures, etc., are cited in order to teach and illustrate both the interpretation of others’ body language as well as the projection of one’s own nonverbal skills in many different contexts – not to advance any political, religious or other agenda.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3621: Bernie Sanders Endorses Hillary Clinton

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2935: David Cameron and ISIL-ISIS-IS

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2409: David Cameron & Fran├žois Hollande - Variations on the Hand Chop & Palm Orientation

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3526: Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler Meet - the Munich Agreement

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3617: President Obama and Speaker Ryan regarding the Dallas Shooting

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3407: GOP Debate, the National Anthem and Shades of Napoleon

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3207: Vladimir Putin, Pope Francis and Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3609: Emma Watson, Tina Turner, Ring Tones and Body Language