Friday, November 11, 2016

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3752: Barack Obama's and Donald Trump's Handshake - Body Language and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Yesterday the President met with the President-Elect at the White House. Barack Obama and Donald Trump met for about 90 minutes and afterward they each made brief statements.

From a body language point-of-view, their handshake was particularly interesting.

Barack Obama initiates the Handshake - which is almost always wisest in terms of projecting dominance and authority.

The handshake lasted for about 2.2 seconds.

The second image (immediately above) was captured from a slightly different angle, while the other four still images here were screen-grabs from the video included at the top of this post.

Mr. Trump rapidly adopts a rather strong expression of regret. He also lacks any eye contact with President Obama during the handshake.

In this second image, the President begins to disengage from the handshake and look away responding to the reporters. At this time Barack Obama also manifests an expression of regret - although it's quite subtle. Trump's regret continues to be strongly manifested as he looks up - yet he's still not making eye contact with the President - rather he's focusing in the distant, looking past Obama.

If Trump wanted to project leadership, strength, to build rapport - or even if he were trying to intimidate Obama - he should have made eye contact. It's utterly dumbfounding just how often, otherwise very worldly and educated people (and "leaders") don't practice good eye contact (especially during handshakes).

After the handshake is complete, Trump's regret expression is maintained as the President responds to reporters.

Mr. Trump's arms and hands then adopt a (low) pseudo-prayer configuration (as he repeatedly separates his fingers and brings them back together). This is a beta body language configuration and is indicative of considerable anxiety.

President Obama's posture - with his thighs at a significantly greater angle, with his palm-down on his thigh and his forward torso lean and tilt - is a nonverbal cluster indicating alpha status, high confidence and emotional comfort.

Conclusion: Both the President and the President-Elect expressed regret during their handshake yesterday at the White House - although Mr. Trump's level of regret was much greater. In addition, Donald Trump exhibited significant anxiety and relatively low emotional comfort - while Barack Obama projected high confidence and greater emotional comfort. This is one of the few times you'll see Mr. Trump assuming a relative beta status to anyone in his close proximity.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3751: Barack Obama and Donald Trump Meet at the White House

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3749: Election Day - Donald Trump Caught on Camera - Making Sure Melania is Voting For Him

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3744: Donald Trump - "Stay on Point", Hats, Eye Contact and Trust

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3720: The 2nd Presidential Debate - Donald Trump v. Hillary Clinton

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3705: Hillary Clinton v. Donald Trump Presidential Debate - Trump: I'm 'smart' for paying no taxes

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3672: Jessica Alba, Swass, Body Language and Emotional Intelligence

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3636: Donald Trump, Hillary's Emails, Putin and Russia

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3610: Star Swain sings The Star-Spangled Banner at the Lincoln Memorial - Why Do Singers Close Their Eyes?