It’s fall, and change is in the air. Can you feel it? And this fall, the election season has once again pushed public speaking to the forefront of our lives. Without taking sides on who won or lost last week's presidential debate, there are valuable observations we could make about both candidates’ body language.
There have been a number of studies done on body language and speaking, and believe it or not, your words only account for approximately 7% of your message. Your tone of voice accounts for 38%, and that leaves a huge 55% of your message being expressed by your body language. Keeping these statistics in mind, how do you think you would have felt about the debate if you’d watched it with the sound turned off?
I don’t think anyone would ever call Donald Trump a low energy individual, and most people are aware of how much television experience he has to draw on, but do you think his body language helped him? Post-debate experts said that Trump seemed a bit more reserved than usual. They said he seemed to be controlling his anger and that his facial expressions had him looking more uncomfortable. He appeared more stressed throughout the evening too, as was shown by his tight body language and constant fidgeting.
Hillary Clinton is no stranger to the camera either. But it seemed like she had a lot more to prove during the event—especially with her health being questioned. Did Hillary quash those doubts with her sustained energy and demeanor during the entire 90 minutes? Did she keep up with Trump? Post-debate experts said that she seemed to be the more relaxed of the two, with positive facial expressions, smiling and laughing appropriately, and remaining confident during Trump’s interruptions.
Watching a debate like this is a fantastic way to get a clear picture of some of the do's and don'ts of body language for your next presentation. And below, you'll find a great article that can help you understand more about this topic. If you have questions, or want to talk about ways to use your body language to its best advantage, let's talk!
Meanwhile, stay tuned into this election season, and watch the upcoming scheduled debates. This time though, make your own decision about what each candidate’s body language is saying. Are their words and body language congruent? Are yours?