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Body Language in Politics


Body Language in Politics By Pam Andes Campaign 2008 Professor Moran Image is Important Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Body Language in Politics

Body Language in Politics
  • By Pam Andes
  • Campaign 2008
  • Professor Moran

Image is Important
  • Seeing comes before words. The child looks and
    recognizes before it can speak.
  • Image is a representation
  • Branding is a feeling attached to an identity
  • Political candidates see the value in effectively
    communicating their image to the public

Senator Norm Coleman Jesse Ventura Humphrey
Hubert III
Jesse "The Body" Ventura
Actors as Politicians
  • Actors are skilled communicators

Actors as Politicians
93 of Communication is Nonverbal Communication
  • 7 of Communication is through actual words
    whereas 93 is nonverbal communication or in
    other words, their body language
  • The History Channels The Secrets of Body
  • http//
  • Putin/Bush Stride for Power 320 443
  • Clinton/Ehud Barak/Yasser Arafat Door Games 512
    - 720
  • Blair/Bush Good Little Boy pat 740
  • Putin stages the Upper Hand 1006
  • http//
  • Putin/Bush Upper Hand

Nonverbal Image is Important
  • Politicians realize that Nonverbal Image/Body
    Language is important
  • Most agree that this began at the Great Debate,
    1st televised debate between Kennedy and Nixon.
  • Nixon just came out of the hospital and lost
  • Nixon was sweating
  • JFK is considered the visual winner of the debate
    thought Nixon is considered the audio winner of
    the debate
  • However, Nixon used television as a strategic
    medium in his Checkers speech to improve his
    image at the 1952 Vice Presidency candidacy
  • http//

Body Language
  • A politicians body language can easily give
    him/her away especially under pressure
  • Ex. Pres. Nixon holds live Press conference
  • Body is defensive
  • hands behind the back, with open front
  • but hes doing a self touch gesture meaning that
    ok I can get through this
  • I am not a crook yet his body goes back or
    retreats showing that they are not telling the
    truth, they are moving back away from that lie
  • Crossing the arms is to protect himself
  • Showing anxiety

Is Image Everything?
  • Managing Politician Images (Mark Jeffries
  • Must be comfortable in front of people
  • Actors training is helpful
  • But is Image everything?
  • Too coached?
  • Gestures dont match the voice
  • Hillary is seen as overcoached at times
  • http//
  • The Body Politic by David Wallis, Brandweek

How to Read Body Language
  • Body
  • Gestures
  • Norming
  • Facial Expression
  • Microexpression expressions that come out
    before you think
  • Facial Coding/Reaction Shots
  • Voice
  • The Laban Movement Analysis
  • The History Channels Secrets of Body
  • The Body Politic by David Wallis, Brandweek

How to Read Body Language
  • The Laban Movement Analysis
  • The Laban Movement is a group of dance teachers,
    therapists and others who are schooled in the
    techniques of Rudolf Laban.
  • They study dance, acting, physical therapy as
    well as politicians bodily movement
  • These Certified Movement Analysts discuss
    Hillarys use of the vertical plane by holding
    her head straight during the debats and of
    descending movements such as her signature
    slicing motion which can suggest clarity and
    sense of priority of issues
  • These CMAs also discuss Obamas Flow and how he
    held a baby within his face range to exemplify
    true connection with people
  • The Way They Move by Lizzie Widdiecombe, New
    Yorker 6/23/2008

Reading Body Language
  • Body language has become increasingly important
    in American Politics that it is not difficult to
    find commentary on a candidates body language
  • Hillary Clintons attracted a lot of attention
    with her nodding head and steepling
  • http//
  • However, Laban CMAs believe the nodding
    vigorously was not very smart and she has toned
    it down along with her facial expressions.

How to Read Body Language
  • According to Lizzie WIddiecombes article, The
    Way they Move (New Yorker 6/23/08), these
    signals have been analyzed in this years
  • John McCains leaning on podium can be seen as I
    need according to Janine Driver on
  • Finger pointing is tough guy approach according
    to Tonya Reiman on Fox though many perceive it as
    a negative
  • Use gestures within the power zone which is
    inside the shoulders. Hillary effectively
    gestures in the Feb. 21st Debate by using 16
    different facial and hand gestures within 3
  • Obamas ok formation of a circle with the tip
    of the index finger and the thumb while the
    pinkie, ring and middle fingers curve together
    below the circle.
  • The Body Politic by David Wallis, Brandweek

Can Politicians Cry?
  • Sen. Edmund Muskies run for President in 1972
  • Nixons dirty tricks spread rumors about Muskies
  • Ed Muskie defended his wife in a public statement
    during a snowstorm where reporters claimed he
  • This claim created an image of him that he was
  • Muskie withdrew his candidacy afterwards.
  • Hillary Clinton is seen holding back tears
  • Is the moment sincere? Or practiced?
  • See http//

How to Read Body Language
  • According to Karla Reeds Article, Reading
    Political Body Language, below are a few signals
    to look for
  • Body Language of the Eyes
  • Blinking slowly indicates lost of interest
  • Blinking excessively possible indicator of
    lying or increase in stress level
  • Rolling eyes upward a sign of disagreement
  • Avoiding eye contact a sign of lying, guilt,
  • Staring without interruption an act of threat

How to Read Body Language
  • Arm Related Body language
  • Arms crossed in front of body this stance
    provides self comfort
  • Arms on hips with elbows turned outward (known as
    arms akimbo) This establishes dominance or has
    issues with the situation.
  • Arms clasped behind back (known as Regal or
    Royal Stance) signals for people not to come
    near. Example Nixons Im not a crook speech

How to Read Body Language
  • Body Language of the Hands
  • Wringing of the Hands indicates insecurity
  • Spreading of the fingers and hands indicates
    territorial, confidence, authority
  • Folding of hands with thumbs popped up subject
    has something positive to say
  • Folding of hands with thumbs coming down
    subject is talking about something

How to Read Body Language
  • Foot and Leg Related Body language Signals
  • Crossing of legs indicates comfort with
    surroundings and/or current situation
  • Wiggling or bouncing of feet this is a self
    pacifying movement
  • Exaggerated kicking movements of feet while legs
    crossed subject is considering something
  • Pointing up of the toes signals a positive
    emotion, a great mood

How to Read Body Language
  • Decoding Body Stature
  • Body lean towards another person a positive
    signal, one likes the other
  • Example Bill Clinton in the 1992 Town Hall
    Debate when Ross Perot spoke
  • Body lean away from another (sudden or steady)
    one dislikes the other
  • Leaning back in a chair with legs spread out
    this is a display of territory which is a sign of
    disrespect especially in the workplace when
    positioned against a superior

How to Read Body Language
  • Body language and eyeglasses
  • Removal of glasses
  • signals need for further discussion and/or
    thought or signals dismay at that point of
  • Glasses in mouth signifies a peaked level of
    interest. Subject may be contemplating or making
    a decision.
  • Placing glasses on head this allows a pause,
    buys time or change in mood.
  • Sliding glasses down on nose this usually
    indicates a heightened level of scrutiny towards
    another peron.

How to Read Body Language
  • Other Body Signals
  • Clearing of the throat and/or twitching the
    subject is feeling insecure
  • Example Al Gore sighing during the 2000 Bush
  • Picking at clothing a strong signal of boredom
  • Touching the nose subject is hiding something
  • Touching the neck signals concern, insecurity
    and a threatened feeling

  • Voice
  • Tone
  • Example of 2 parents with missing children were
    reviewed without visual imagery by college
  • Voice of mother who actually killed her children
    convinced students that she sincerely missed her
  • Voice of innocent father failed to convince
    students that he was sincere in missing his
  • Dissecting the sound
  • Possible to analyze voice recording with some
    scientific precision called LVA, Layered Voice

  • Can image be a Primary factor over Content?
  • http//
  • For Journal Research, http//www.scientificjournal
  • The Visual Byte Bill Clinton and the Town Hall
    Meeting Style

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