Patti's Reads the Body Language of the Presidential Candidates and Other Speakers at the Republican and Democratic Conventions

Click the link below to see Patti on CNN and hear her insights!

Here are Patti's rough notes from her recent appearance on CNN reading the body language at the Republican and Democratic Conventions.
Romney’s entrance: 14

His face is smiling. But look at how stiff his back is tension rod up through his back and neck. (He looks like he hurt his back.  He is so stiff.  His body is in a straight line. He keeps his lower body away.  Romney doesn’t do what I call the Clinton lean in.  When he came up he would step in and bring his whole body around each person in a symbolic embrace.

He comes out on stage.  His body stiff and hunched as he walks to the podium. He gives a rather stilted hand to heart gesture but it looks like faked humility. He is acting humble and teary-eyed but here he’s not in the moment.  He is acting to the audience rather than connected to them as he comes on stage.

Stiff posture no emotional Body Movement - He is more animated than in past speeches but he still has that stiff body language. (Time code 7:10 and then at more so at 7:38 he is talking about freedom, but his body is locked, arms at sides freedom to build a life)  This video doesn’t show him in close up it goes to the crowd but in the video I first watched his gestures should come up.  Only a handful of gestures in first 15 minutes of speech

Lack of Synchronicity of words and message - you move to illustrate what you are saying make us feel a candidate is sincere. Instead look at Romney 7:38 (This is so wild watch him say “Again when every new wave of immigrant’s looked up to the statue of liberty or knelt down to kiss the shores of freedom.” But in that truly emotional content. He doesn’t move or look up or gesture up as he speaks of freedom. He looks like a little kid who memorized a speech.

First real gesture at Puny gesture - When He says”freedom to build” his arms should have swept up. Instead he stands frozen.  But not just what we wanted but it’s what Americans deserved. (9:05) He gives his first gesture a puny pinched finger gesture down.  This gesture pressing the thumb against index and pointy finger make a point not a weapon like he wants to squeeze emotion out of you and make my point.

Again at (10:45 or so) his words are passionate and his voice has emotion but his body is stiff as he says, “Work harder… Hug your kids a little longer. Again no illustrator gestures. Made it ring false.  As he said, “I wish Obama had succeeded because I wanted America to succeed.” I wished he had shown more passion. “

Lack of connection to audience “With your help we will do something,” He had the opportunity to look at the audience and do an open palm Gathering Gesture gesturing out and bring the gesture back to himself.  Instead he kept his hands frozen at his sides and then at (11:23) you see him do eye shutter and close his mouth. Indicating nonverbally Romney either doesn’t feel we can do something or he does not feel he needs our help. Gestures my country deserves better point down cupped hand.

Great Emotional Moment - Typically in Romney’s speech his voice is very monotone.  In this speech he has more emotion in his voice than any other speech and has some genially emotional moment. One of the few in first 15 minutes, “every day dad gave mom a rose” pointing, and his eyes teared up. My mom and dad were true partners. Should women have less say than our men?  Eyes welled up his voice cracked.


Comes out claps with the crowd.  It’s not about him.  He smiles and says thank you several times.

Starts his speech real and warm (:49 “Michele I love you so much,” This is a very warm real moment. Uses humor quickly and well as he makes a reference to his daughter’s behavior” Lightens the first moment.

He leans forward opens and grabs the podium “I accept the nomination for president” then he bows slightly forward slightly humble and holding in emotion flat tight smile.

Gestures frequently and comfortably 4:12 he is giving multiple gestures in a sentence. Expressing himself comfortably.  Both fists closed (5:34 or so) double our exports.

Tobacco chew finds much of what he has to say distasteful. Challenges of our time. 8:59 does that over 20 times in the first half of his speech.

Truly emotional 1 Veteran story, He gives me hope. Share that hope with me. I ask you tonight for your vote, his voice is emotional and truly humble.

Great Strength in his gestures “If you believe that new energy can power our future. Ladders of ..” Watch his gestures grow in strength size and frequency.

Best moment in his speech for Democrats (38:09) “Every One gets a fair shot voice cracks with powerful emotions. Deserves his fair share.

Best example of his best gestures. (38:38 or so) He says, “Yes our path is harder. Yes our road is longer but we travel he grasps up as if to ask us to pull ourselves up from our bootstraps.

(39.20 or so) We pull each other up... We draw strength from victories. Gesture strike out hold out, keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon.

Finger pointing

Clinton is laughing and smiling and very comfortable with the crowd roaring after he is introduced. That is very hard to do.  We are here to nominate a president (long power of the pause) and I GOT one in mind Clinton, First Thank you his voice is warm.   We have got one in mind, Point gestures high and confident finger point, crisp and elevated thumb clasp points slow slide then at 1:26 knowing all the while hands up above waist palms open fingers spread.

1:16 Clinton is strong and confident and in control right out of the gate.

Listen to his voice striking on each word the pausing, “Just six weeks before the elections,

2.06 “A man who believes with no doubt.”

Clinton gestures with almost every single statement. He has over 14 gestures in the first minute and 45 seconds of his speech.  These frequent gesture show he is confident. Sure of his feeling and open to revealing them.

6:14 Watch Clinton use the power of the point as he says, “We know that investments in education and infrastructure they increase new jobs. “

Jennifer Granholm:   Great emotion enthusiasm open posture. She has more fun than any other speaker. Stand- up comic Pep squad Glee club of speakers.  Show us her side. Holds the gesture longer. Waits for the full impact of her words and gestures.

Chris Christie - Enjoys himself out of the box.  New Jersey republican. Likeable and funny Comedy. Emphasis he knows how to punch just the right word.  On the first four minutes he says we have to FIGHT, or I am HER son He gestures naturally and easily, though at times slow and delayed. 

Open palm internal state of openness and honesty. In Clinton, Granholm, Ann Romney
Closed palm dominance and authority can you get that for me.

Ann Romney consistent open window body language show. Open palm internal state of openness and honesty.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Also check out the body language quiz on her YouTube Channel at