Nonverbal Communication Analysis №3897: Roger Stone, Donald Trump, Body Language and Emotional Intelligence (PHOTOS)
Although the book was written by Mr. Stone, it is, of course, in President Trump’s best interest to have a picture of him which best projects a “Presidential Image” — this photo does NOT accomplish that goal.
No part of Trump’s body is pointed at the “audience” — rather it’s oblique. The President’s head is partially turned toward us, but not fully. This necessitates his eyes looking further laterally in order to make contact.
His eyelids are partially closed — yet with his eyebrows elevated. This opposite motion of these two adjacent tissues is NOT a natural default nonverbal — it takes effort. One colloquial expression for this eye appearance is “Looking Askance”. He is critical of us — the audience. Human beings do not look directly at those whom they do not like, do not believe, or do not respect.
Although very few people use this Conventional Steeple hand position for any longer than a second or two (and some never at all in their whole lives’) — Trump has been using it for years. If you view tens of thousands of pictures of former presidents, you will only find that Donald Trump displays the conventional steeple.
If used only for a second or two at the correct time, a conventional steeple conveys assertiveness, confidence, and power — but if used for greater duration and frequency (and with this display, a little bit goes a long way), it very rapidly projects arrogance as well as condescending and patronizing emotional tones.
It’s rare for Donald Trump to sit with his ankles crossed. This body language configuration indicates low confidence, low assertiveness, hesitancy, and low emotional comfort. It’s very Beta — and a position in which no president should ever be photographed.
In the sales process, one should never make an “ask” or an attempt at a “close” when the prospect is seated in this manner.
A further failure of attention to detail is betrayed not only by debris on the floor — but also by what appears to be a tag or upholstery hanging from the underside of Trump’s chair.
And that’s not a wall behind the President. It’s a photographer’s screen. A shadow and gap can be seen along the floor juncture — and particularly with the wall. The “audience” should never see the edges of the screen — for it’s a bit like Toto pulling back the curtain in The Wizard of Oz. In this setting, it has the additional effect of acting as a visual metaphor of a façade. It very much says, “This is False”, “This is Not Real”, “This is a Ruse”, “This is not Solid”.
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.