Lesson 3: How to Lose a Political Debate Without Saying A Word
Lesson #3: Your Gestures Better Match Your Words Or Else
We know through research on nonverbal communication that when one’s body language is not congruent with your words then listeners of the message will lean towards believing the body language. Therefore, the stylistic approach that each political candidate demonstrates (whether conscious or unconscious) is ultimately being scrutinized and impacts his or her political future.
See if you can spot Richard Nixon shaking his head slightly no while saying he agrees with Kennedy completely.
We can’t be certain that Nixon was lying about his comment based solely on this isolated gesture or that viewers will even be able to point out the specific body language gesture. However, a lack of congruency often causes the listener(s) to feel confused. It would be like your GPS navigation telling you to turn down the next street but you know the correct way is three streets away. You’re left confused and trying to make a decision about which one to listen to. In the end, the speaker’s authenticity is eroded.