Body Language 101


I did not watch the debate last night. And, based upon the news reports I read this morning, I will not search for a replay. Perhaps I should. If only to observe Sen. Clinton’s and Sen. Obama’s body language.

This photo caught my eye. And it is not a pretty picture! Notice their hands. This position is called the “Fig Leaf.” Remember the biblical story of Adam and Eve? How they used a fig leaf to cover their “private parts” after they took a bite of the forbidden apple? They look weak, defensive and vulnerable.

So do Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama in this picture. They look weak, defensive and vulnerable. They do not look “Presidential.” They do not project power, confidence or authority. They appear timid.

“Listen with your eyes!” Body language is quite telling. What message do you receive from this photograph? What message do you project with your body language? What will your audience believe – your words? Or your body language?

If you want to learn more about the importance of body language, I recommend “The Exceptional Presenter,” by Timothy J. Koegel. I particularly like his illustrations of proper and inappropriate hand positions and gestures.

So, what is the proper position for your hands when you are speaking? What change should Sens. Clinton and Obama have made before this photograph was taken?

Use the basic”hands at your side” position. It will relax you because it takes no energy to stand with your hands at your side. Practice this yourself. How does this make you feel? How does your audience react when you stand to speak with your “hands at your side?”

They feel comfortable listening to you. They “listen with their eyes.”

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  1. […] The Company Rocks placed an interesting blog post on Body Language 101 […]

  2. […] The Company Rocks added an interesting post on Body Language 101 […]

  3. […] The Company Rocks blog cited my blog post about the fig leaf position, and added an interesting observation. In a photo taken the night of their most recent debate, Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama do not project confidence and authority. They don’t appear “Presidential.” Because their hands are clasped in front of them (protecting their privates?), they come across as weak and vulnerable. […]

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