Tag Archive for: nonverbal communication

2016 Presidential Debates: Reading the Candidates

Many people are closely watching the presidential debates; but not as closely as those of us who are in the field of reading nonverbal communication. It appears to me that the candidates could use someone (like me) to advise them on the dos and don’ts of their non verbal messaging. I have been a student , a researcher and practitioner of reading nonverbal communication in many environments for over 15 years. The candidates nonverbal cues  so far, in my opinion , leave a lot to be desired in these debates.
For instance, in both party debates, almost all the candidates will turn and face their opponents when the others are speaking. That signals to the audience that they feel what the other candidate is saying has some kind of merit. What they should do is to continue to face the audience  while looking down at their notes and then continue to make eye contact with the audience/camera. It shows confidence and does not  show some kind of possible “buy in” to what the other candidates are saying….
Now lets get to the smiles.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton needs to get a real smile fast. I have studied whats called  micro expressions for years . They are cross cultural  expressions of emotion that come across the face really fast. They signal the emotion that the person is feeling at that time.
So a real smile for example involves all the muscles in the face. The cheeks go up and the smile even includes the muscles right up to the corner of the eyes. Almost all Hillary’s smiles are in the lower part of the face…indicating a contrived disingenuous smile…in other words not real! Sometimes her smile even rivals what we commonly call a “smirk”. Not Good…..
Bernie Sanders has a great smile , involving every muscle in the face that is used when the smile is genuine. The next time you look at Hillary and Bernie smile, you will see what I mean.
On the Republican side there are issues too!
Donald Trump’s  smile occasionally borders on the smirk side but for the most part is a genuine smile when he smiles . The same with Ben Carson. Ted Cruz has a problem. His smile rivals Hillary’s for a low level of smirk or sometimes even contempt which can look like a half smile but again happening in the lower part of the face only..
Research shows that 65-90% of all human interaction is nonverbal, therefore, the Presidential candidates need to be aware of what messages they are sending their audiences. Wasn’t it Abraham Lincoln who said ” You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”….
Carl Maccario, Founder of the Center of Nonverbal Communication
What is the value of learning about nonverbal communication?

What is the value of learning about nonverbal communication?

By Carl Maccario

Being aware of ones on behavior is invaluable so that we don’t send the wrong message with our body language. What nonverbal messages are you sending to others that you don’t necessarily want to? For example, are you showing nonverbal indicators of disgust, when we had no intention of sending that type of message? Being able “to read “peoples nonverbal behavior often helps you better understand their motivations, and intentions. It can help you gain insight about an individual’s personality or credibility and many times give you a glimpse of their emotional or mental state. This skill set is extremely valuable in customer service, sales, in the world of human resources (hiring, employee assistance) leadership development, professional life, social life, and personal life.

Many business schools (Harvard et al) are now exploring or will begin to offer, classes in Nonverbal Communication. Over the last 3 years there has been an ever increasing demand for training in deciphering and decoding nonverbal behavior in the business world. Many companies have started to train their managers and employees in reading nonverbal behavior, to better understand and interact with their employees, customers and even vendors.

My personal experience over the last 15 years in this field, whether it be in security work, business, human resources or personal lives, has shown me that the more aware people are of the world of nonverbal communication, the more successful they are at getting to an issue at hand, deal with the issue and move on with their daily lives.