Nonverbal Communication Analysis №3849: Donald Trump’s and Justin Trudeau’s Relative Confidence Levels During Yesterday’s Press Conference — Body Language and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
On Monday, Donald Trump welcomed Justin Trudeau in his first official visit to the United States. The two leaders held a joint news conference, each making statements and then answering a few questions.
There was a multitude body language signals displayed — and one of the most intriguing one was a barometer for the Canadian’s and the American’s relative confidence levels.
Throughout virtually the entire joint news conference, Justin Trudeau’s feet were planted considerably further apart than were Donald Trump’s. Sometimes Trudeau’s feet were separated by a distance slightly closer than a shoulder’s width — and sometimes a bit less. In distinction — President Trump’s feet were much closer, side-by-side and at times almost touching.
Standing with one’s feet slightly less than a shoulder’s width apart not only PROJECTS more confidence, strength and assertiveness — it also ENGENDERS these same feelings. That is, standing in this manner will change your brain chemistry to up-regulate these alpha emotions.
Standing with one’s feet closer together will lower one’s confidence, projects weakness and makes a person more tentative and acquiescing. Thousands of years ago, military leaders instinctively recognized this phenomena and thus made their subordinates stand “at attention”. Such “feet close together” configurations also alter the neurochemistry in the brain thus changing the emotions in the opposite direction (vs. relatively wider stances).
Another profound ramification of this relative foot position, is that standing with one’s feet a bit less than a shoulder’s width apart, will truly facilitate increased fluidity of both thought and speech. Thus you will truly “think better on your feet” by standing in this manner.
But let’s look even closer …
Trudeau fields a question regarding his belief on President Trump’s moratorium — and if it has any merit on national security grounds (beginning at 19:36 in the above video). Trudeau responds, “Canada and the United States have been neighbors a long time and — Canadians and Americans have stood together, worked together, ah, at home and around the world. Um, we’ve fought and died together — ‘n battlefields in World War I and World War II, Korea and Afghanistan. But there have been times, ah, where we have differed in our approaches — ah, and that’s always been done firmly and respectfully. The last thing Canadians expect, ah, is, ah, for me to come down and, ah, lecture another country on how they choose to govern themselves. Ah, my role — our responsibility is to, ah, continue to, ah, govern in such a way that, ah, reflects Canadians’ approach and, ah, be a positive example in the world”.
Beginning at 20:14 (corresponding with dialog highlighted in red), as Trudeau is speaking — Trump’s toes elevate while the remainder of both of his feet stay planted. This occurs to a greater degree with his left foot. As soon as Prime Minister Trudeau’s statement is completed, his toes go back down. This upward flexion of the toes (dorsiflexion) and distal foot is a strong indicator of anxiety. While we do not have a view of his feet throughout the entire presser, we can be sure that in these moments, Trump was experiencing significant anxiety.
This post has concentrated on only the two men’s difference in their stance — as well as Trump’s toes. What others signals of relative alpha and beta body language did you observe? (There were many.)
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.