Nonverbal Communication Analysis №3701: Hillary Clinton, Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis — Body Language and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
When one agrees to make an appearance on Funny or Die’s — Between Two Ferns, a particular brand of humor is certainly to be expected. And a person can make the argument that that’s exactly what Hillary Clinton was going for with Zach Galifianakis. Many of her supporters will probably say the democratic candidate did a pretty fair job too.
When we slice it thinner though, we see that with an extremely high percentage of the time, whenever Mrs. Clinton sits down for an interview, she sits back, crosses her ankles, crosses or grasps her hands — and leans her head and neck backward.
In the above scenario, there is at least some attempt at humor — but in the situation below she was in an interview with Chris Coumo — who of course hails from a family of democrats and thus one would certainly think is for her a relatively friendly setting. Yet still she has a virtually identical body language cluster.
This is one of Mrs. Clinton’s default nonverbal positions — and she needs to change it. She should always use a chair with arms — this gives engenders a much more relaxed and natural feel whether in an interview or sitting alone. Resting elbows and/or forearms on the arms of the chair (at least some of the time) coupled with a forward leaning of the torso, away from the back of the chair will up-regulate her energy, engagement and likability. Intriguingly — such a configuration will also lead to more fluid thought and speech.
The backward tilt of Mrs. Clinton’s head and neck in particular evokes the age-old colloquial: “Looking Down Your Nose”. This projects a patronizing and arrogant emotional tone and does not help Hillary win over the swing voters. Moreover it also sends messages of low engagement and low tolerance — e.g., “You’re not important to me”, “I don’t really want to be here” — and even “I don’t like you”.
This post and the associated website serve as reference sources for the art and science of Body Language/Nonverbal Communication. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author. In an effort to be both practical and academic, many examples from/of varied cultures, politicians, professional athletes, legal cases, public figures, etc., are cited in order to teach and illustrate both the interpretation of others’ body language as well as the projection of one’s own nonverbal skills in many different contexts — not to advance any political, religious or other agenda.