Saturday, April 8, 2017

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3901: Jared Kushner in Iraq - Body Language and Emotional Intelligence (PHOTOS)

It is said among insiders that Jared Kushner shows an "unwavering loyalty" toward his father-in-law. He has rapidly come to be Donald Trump's most trusted advisor. Kushner's assignments include negotiating an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, overseeing relationships with China, Canada, and Mexico (triple ambassadorship), the chief of the new White House Office of American Innovation, fixing the opioid epidemic - and increasingly he's assuming the role of what is essentially the de facto Secretary of State.

Earlier this week Mr. Kushner made a surprise trip to Iraq. The photo above is from that trip - and not surprisingly, it has drawn tremendous criticism.

From a purist's perspective, the clothes we wear are not considered part of our body language vocabulary - but the purists are sorely mistaken.

Our clothes are profound nonverbal illustrators - for they are extensions of our face/body and much of the time project our personality as well as the context of our mental state. In some settings this principle certainly applies more so than others. In nonverbal parlance, the term "Illustrator" describes a subset of body language signals we display (>99.9+% subconsciously) to emphasize, underline, italicize and act as exclamation-points for other aspects of our verbal communication and behavior.

If Jared Kushner would have donned semi-military garb - or at least jeans and a T-shirt, no one would have thought it unusual. But by choosing to highlight himself and moreover looking extremely Brooks Brothersesque while doing so, he dramatically and arrogantly distances himself from those people with whom he's attempting to build rapport. It sends signals of aloofness, ignorance, incompetence - and a complete lack of empathy. Kushner is very much saying, "I have to be here, but I don't want to" as well as, "I belong to the country club - and you don't". Indeed, many of those in Iraq (or others simply viewing this image) would interpret his choice of garb in this setting as a nonverbal equivalent of a middle finger shoved in their (our) collective faces'.

"When you visit the land of others, take a friend with you, but leave your laws at home."

Inuit Proverb

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3900: Donald Trump's Statement Regarding US Retaliation for Syria's Chemical Weapons Attack

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3898: President Donald Trump and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi Meet at The White House 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3896: Did Matthew Perry Really Beat Up Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau? 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3890: Ted Koppel on why he thinks Sean Hannity is bad for America 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3842: Bill Belichick and Julian Edelman 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3763: Matt Smith, Claire Foy and Where NOT to be stung by a Wasp

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3716: Fatherhood, Body Language, Emotional Intelligence and Ashton Kutcher's Pants

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3707: The Presidential Debates Part III - Donald Trump v. Hillary Clinton and Sniffing