Sunday, September 28, 2008

The importance of body language and inner poise

How importance are charisma and confidence? How about body language and inner strength?

I noticed during the presidential debate that there was a great difference in the way the two candidates presented themselves. Particularly, I perceived a great variation in the body language of each. One stood tall, with arms wide, shoulders high. He seemed at ease. He looked directly at his opponent when the opponent spoke, and even addressed him directly at times. He smiled, but not too widely, he looked serious at times, but never did he appear cross or upset. He seemed relaxed and confident when answering questions. In other words, he kept his composure - inner poise.

The other candidate's body language was quite different. He did not look at his opponent when the opponent spoke; he mostly looked either down or straight ahead. To me, this projected either a lack of confidence or a lack of respect toward the opponent. Thinking about this person meeting with foreign leaders, one wonders if he would have a problem making eye contact with them if he disagreed with their policies. This candidate did not turn his body toward his opponent at any time. He frequently made reference to his opponent in the third person, as if he was not in the same room. It seemed a bit odd to me. This candidate's body language was more "closed," that is, his posture seemed more rigid and his facial expressions indicated a bit of tension.

Perhaps some would say that body language and poise are not important when choosing a candidate for president, nor important in any respect for that matter. However, I completely disagree. For example, what is the point of a job interview, if not to judge you by your body language and composure? The potential employer already has your resume and list of qualifications.

As a former student of Psychology and Sociology, I definitely feel that body language plays an important role in the way that we judge others. In addition, a person's body language can put us at ease or make us feel uncomfortable; it is that powerful.

Body language and poise go beyond an election. It affects the way others see us each day, and the way we view others as well, especially upon a first meeting. How important do you believe body language is in making an impression? Do you feel that it has an effect on the way others see you, or on how you perceive others?

1 comment:

Jacqueline Smith said...

Do you know how people generally sit up or square the shoulders whenever they hear the word 'posture'? Well as I read your post, I was evaluating the way I communicate to others through my body language. Very helpful post.

Didn't see the debate (I hear that gasp), but I can visualize what you are talking about. I guess these things register in the mind and affects the way voters view the candidates, at least subconsciously.