Nonverbal Communication Analysis №3831: Donald Trump’s and Theresa May’s Press Conference — Body Language and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
Prime Minister Theresa May met with President Trump today at The White House. She was the first head-of-state to visit with Donald Trump since his inauguration. There were many body language tells exhibited during their short press conference — and one rarely discussed nonverbal signal came during toward the end of the above video.
At 15:29 UK journalist (Tom) continues: “… And also may I ask a question to both of you. People are fascinated to know how you’re going to get on with each other, you’re so different. The hard-working daughter of a vicar, the brash TV extrovert — have you found anything in common personally yet?”
Donald Trump: “Actually I’m not as brash as you might think.”
Donald Trump: “And I can tell you that I think we’re going to get along very well. You know, it’s interesting because I am a people person. I think you are also, Theresa. And, ah — I can often tell how I get along with somebody very early, and I believe we’re going to have a fantastic relationship….”
During the 15:51–15:52 segment, as Trump says, “… I am a people person …”, the President touches his chest with his right hand. Look at the detail though — for Trump only touches with his fingers while his palm remains elevated off his chest. When there is no “palmar” touch during such “illustrators” — the gesture has a low sincerity quotient. This is very similar to what occurs during a hug when one of the “huggers” is less-than-enthusiastic about hugging — and their fingers touch without the palm of the hand touching. If you’re observant, you’ve certainly felt such a “palmless” hug yourself from time to time.
Moreover, the President is touching the right side of his chest — not over his heart. When we hold an infant for the first time, we instinctively know to place their head next to our heart — on our LEFT side. During moments of sincere affection and sincere intimacy — we strongly tend to pull the other person to our “heart side” — our LEFT side.
This is a classic body language cluster of “Feigned Sincerity”.
Intriguingly, it also takes more effort for the right hand to touch on the right side of one’s chest — it’s a more natural motion (and takes less energy) for the right hand to touch the left side of the chest.
Conclusion: Donald Trump does not truly believe he is a “People Person”.
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.