Saturday, November 15, 2008

Your Body Language Talks Better Than You Do

I watched an interesting History Channel program on body language tonight. The two "experts" who were making the presentation claim that 93% of human communication is through body language. At first I thought, "You guys are nuts!" But by the end of the program I thought, "Shit! Maybe they're right!"
They showed lots of real life examples of things people do with their hands, their shoulders, their eyes, their heads, the way they walk, and so on. Then they analysed the significance of those movements and it made a lot of sense.

The most amusing example was the film footage of Bill Clinton making his Monica denial. "I did not have sexual relations with that woman," he stated firmly. In the meantime, he was poking his index finger in the air in one direction, while his eyes were looking in the opposite direction. Apparently, if someone is telling the truth, his finger and his eyes are pointed in the same direction, preferably at his audience.
The saddest example was poor Richard Nixon during his infamous debate with John Kennedy, back in 1960. The camera focused on him wringing his hands, behind his back, while sweating profusely and looking unhappy. JFK, on the other hand was a perfect picture of self-confidence and poise. You didn't even have to listen to their words, in order to know who would make the better president.
The "experts" (I wish I could remember their names, but...) talked about body language "coaches" and gave some before and after examples of their training. The most interesting to me was Hillary Clinton. It showed film footage of her, back in the early years of Bill's administration. In public presentations she often looked down, her shoulders slightly forward, and didn't look straight at the camera. Quite the shy lass. But she got some coaching, and look at her now. Standing straight, eyes forward, pointing her finger at various admirers, she is the picture of confidence and authority.
The hand-wringing discussion struck a chord with me. They called it something else, but of course I can't remember what. But essentially it was touching your hand with the other in order to calm and comfort yourself. I know for a fact that I am always fiddling with my hands when I am stressed or uncomfortable.

Of course, facial expressions are a dead giveaway too. They illustrated that with several amusing examples.

Can you imagine what Tony Blair is thinking at this moment?

If you could see my face at this moment, you would probably deduce that I am very sleepy, even if I were to swear I am not.


Anonymous said...

I watched this program with The Actor. It was really interesting.

My favorite public personality give away is when someone is saying something in the the affirmative, but shaking their head 'no.'

Condoleeza Rice is one person who does that a lot.

Madam Z said...

dcup, what fun that you saw the same program! And how on earth could I have forgotten about the headshaking thing? That was so funny! Thanks for reminding me.

Bill Stankus said...

Isn't body language now old school?

I mean we now have to decipher emails,(I'm hungry) text messages (wow, whatta babe) and blogs (is that waiter ever going visit my table)?

jenniw said...

So what was the program? Is it online? Is it on youtube? Sounds GREAT!