On the 11th of March’20, President Donald addressed the nation from the White House about the coronavirus. Trump made statements including: “The virus will not have a chance against us,” and, “We have the best economy, the most advanced health care, and the most talented doctors, scientists, and researchers anywhere in the world,” etc. But did his body language follow his words?
Laura Dudley is a behavioural analyst at Northeastern University. She is an associate Clinical professor, specialising in body language. She firmly believes Trump’s words and his body language have sometimes broadcast conflicting information. For leaders such as Trump, being aware of both the verbal and nonverbal languages they’re using is important to becoming effective and mindful communicators.
Dudley noticed Trump sitting stiffly behind his desk, with his shoulders slightly hunched and hands folded in front of him, eyes squinting as he stared at the camera teleprompter. According to Dudley, body language isn’t an exact science, because it’s impossible to divine a person’s private thoughts with 100 percent certainty. However, in general, body language experts suggest that certain behaviours convey confidence, while others send the opposite message. For an instant, good posture is generally associated with confidence. Smiling is usually encouraged but it would not be appropriate in this situation of Trump. Eye contact is good as well but it might be difficult while you are on camera and reading off of a teleprompter. Again, behaviors such as fidgeting, crossing one’s arms, and blinking rapidly, may suggest that a person is nervous, defensive or distressed. Also, hand gestures are important in understanding a person’s motive too. Like, open hands and arms can suggest that a person has nothing to hide.
“Empathy and compassion are key aspects of a mindful conversation. When we have the interest of the other person in mind rather than just our own interest, we are better communicators and may find that we are able to come together even when we have opposing viewpoints”, said Dudley.
Shahjadi Jemim Rahman