Nonverbal Communication Analysis №3678: Donald Trump’s Trip to Mexico — Body Language and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
Today Donald Trump visited Mexico and met with President Enrique Peña Nieto. Both men gave speeches and conducted a brief joint press conference.
From a body language perspective, when Enrique Peña Nieto was speaking, Donald Trump stood back — away from the lectern. His feet were fairly close together while his hands were positioned in a Fig Leaf configuration.While there are certainly times when a head of state (or any leader) should display such nonverbal signals — this occasion was NOT one of them. It’s always important and to show respect for another leader and behave contextually — but in doing so one should never appear to acquiesce or look weak. Donald Trump’s body language was quite beta during President Peña Nieto’s speech — projecting emotional discomfort and low confidence.
It would have been to his advantage if Trump had held his arms and hands at his sides. If is hands were loosely clasped behind his back, this would have also been much better than a fig leaf (although if held for too long behind the back in such a position [depending somewhat upon the accompanying facial expressions] — this may project feelings of arrogance and condescending emotional tones).
Trump should have also stood closer to the lectern — standing back as he did sends disengaging feelings. By doing so, he also puts himself at a lower status than President Peña Nieto — AND lower than a presidential candidate. This principle would be true regardless of his country of origin. Standing closer to the lectern would also allow a more neutral place to put his hands. Holding the sides of the lectern, toward the back (closer to him) is a good alpha-beta hybrid position. When it then became his turn to then speak, sliding his hands forward (toward the audience) would be one way to up-regulate his alpha persona (although holding on to the lectern for extended periods is rarely recommended. Open gestures [“Illustrators”] should be virtually always be employed).
Moreover, Trump was absolutely standing with his feet too close together. This also down-regulates his status and makes him appear weak, beta and “standing at attention”. His feet should have been about a shoulder’s width apart.