What does body language tell you about what a politician is really saying? Quite a lot, actually.
Through the years I've been asked many times by media to analyze the body language of federal and provincial Canadian party leaders as they debated each other on TV, radio, and online.
They are thrown into a boiling cauldren where every facial expression, every blink, every gesture, every turn, and every nuance is magnified by a forest of cameras.
Debates are live which means anything can go wrong at any time and usually does. A political debate is a high form of art and theatre for political junkies.
That is why leaders are coached, rehearsed, and then coached again. In Canada, the process is elevated because the leaders must participate in two debates, one in French and the other in English.
In every debate, one or more of the leaders rise above the rest. The greatest fear is saying something boneheaded, assuming a weak physical position or making an odd gesture that could win or lose the election.
When I am asked by the media to analyze body language, I note subtle - or not so subtle - signals that could make the difference in shaping people's impressions in Election 2021. I try to be unbiased.
- Justin Trudeau - Liberal Party
- Erin O'Toole - Conservative Party
- Jagmeet Singh - New Democratic Party
- Annemie Paul - Green Party
- Yves-Francois Blanchet - Party Quebecois
Body Language - a Difference MakerKnowing what your body is saying can be the difference between being taken seriously or not. Strong body language speaks to confidence, credibility, and trust. Shifty eyes, wild gestures, and the failure to listen intently signal the direct opposite.
Non-Verbal CommunicationBody language, or non-verbal communication, is a series of indicators. There is no one thing that is definitive. Distracting maybe, but not definitive. Body language includes;
- Tone of voice
- Head movement
- Facial expressions
- Eye contact
- Active listening
- Hand gestures
Click on Each Image to Listen to the Radio Interviews Below.
Guest host Andrew Brown and I had an 8-minute conversation after the English and French Language debates. We wrapped up the Leader's Body Language observations noting the changes in strategy between the two. Warning! Don't try the gesture exercises while driving. CBC' Daybreak Alberta is broadcast throughout the province on AM 1010 Calgary, AM 740 Edmonton, and a provincial network of FM booster frequencies.