Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3661: Donald Trump, Distrust, Destroying Rapport and the African-American Voter — Body Language and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
A fundamental truth of nonverbal communication is that if you want to build rapport and gain trust, quality eye contact is of profound importance. The more people cover their eyes, the more rapport is destroyed established and the greater distrust we will have in them.
Yesterday in Dimondale, Michigan appealing directly to the African-American electorate, Donald Trumprepeatedly asked, “What do you have to lose?” and went on to say, “You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?”
Donald Trump wore one of his “Make America Great Again” baseball-styled hats during the event. Of course he’s worn these hats before, although most of the time it’s been outside with much better natural light. His speech yesterday took place indoors and the lighting was poor. Thus Mr. Trump’s forehead was completely covered and his eyes were very minimally visible — particularly to the camera.
Given Mr. Trump’s experience on television, he seems less likely to have committed such a mistake. His communication director should have also been acutely aware of the fact that the inability to see his eyes will cost him votes.
Watch some of this video with the sound muted. How does your inability to see his eyes make you feel?
When a person’s eyes are covered, it facilitates their ability to successfully tell a lie. Poker players will wear hats (and sunglasses and hoodies) to cover their face. Such practice largely prevents their competitors from reading their emotions. In card contests deception is part of the game. The rules allow for the covering the face.
Yet when a candidate is running for office, their face and feelings should be readily accessible. At no time should their eyes be obscured. This is also true for all business and the majority of social interactions. The tendency for a person to want to cover up their eyes out of context should send up red flags. Don’t dismiss it. Rather ask yourself, “What are they hiding?”