Super Tuesday, Which Presidential Candidate Will Win Based on Body Language? How Charisma Wins Your Vote

Super Tuesday, Which Presidential Candidate Will Win Based on Body Language. How Charisma Wins Your Vote
By Patti Wood

Here are my rough notes. 
As a body language expert, speaker and media coach. I know who will win the popular vote for president. Here’s how you can figure out who will win.
The popular vote for president tends to go to the most charismatic candidate. The four first impressions factors are Credibility, Likability, Attractiveness and Power. We find someone charismatic when they are high on the last three factors, likability, attractiveness and power. In fact, when someone is highly charismatic, it overrides our brains ability to detect whether or not they are credible. We can’t tell if they are honest or not. So charismatic people have super powers they can use for good or evil.  In a research study on the effects of charisma on politics the researchers found that people with charisma are able to gracefully persuade us to buy from them, vote for them and (as charismatic leaders like Kennedy and Clinton have shown) mate with them.

We should vote for a president with credibility as there is more to leadership than charisma, but again and again it is the most charismatic candidate is who we vote for. In the study, Harvard undergraduates who were shown ten-second silent video clips of unfamiliar candidates from 58 past gubernatorial elections they consistently chose the candidate who won. They didn't hear a word the candidates said, but they almost without exception picked the winner. Their choices were made purely on the basis of body language. In fact, when they could hear what the candidates said, the students were no better than chance at predicting who had won. Body Language trumps what a candidate says.

So lets break Charisma down again, into its sub parts; power, likability and attractiveness. Power is communicated by several factors most related to alpha characteristics. Two of those are size and bulk. Research shows that the tallest and heaviest presidential candidate out of the last two candidates is more likely to win the popular vote and is more likely to be re-elected. Power is also communicated by gestures. Research shows that Charismatic leaders use gestures, in fact, four times as many as others do when they talk. Charismatic speakers from Bill Clinton and Martin Luther King from Cesar Chavez to Donald Trump are charismatic people we see as punctuating almost every sentence with a strong gesture. You don’t have to be tall if you move and speak in an alpha manner. For example, Hitler worked on all of his nonverbal communication to present the proper image at the proper time. He wasn’t born with the number one alpha characteristic height but he could use strong alpha poses and gestures and an angry loud voice. Which leads us to the next power nonverbal set of behaviors anger.
Anger - Research shows that angry people are seen as more powerful, in work settings angry employees are more likely to get promoted and get more money.  Oddly, we follow leaders that are angry.  Glaring is a common characteristic of angry people as are forward leans, gestures, scowls, chopping and pointing motions. Anger increases the heart rate and blood pressure of the angry person speaking and the listener. The most common angry expression is eyebrows pulled down and together, inner corners down toward the nose, open. In suppressed anger, pressed lips or anger open mouth pulled in narrowing of lips. What makes an angry candidate look powerful? Well, Research on emotions shows that anger is a highly contagious emotion we catch and the anger especially if we feel weak and powerless empowers us.
Anger also rouses people to action and Hitler wanted to make his audiences angry enough to change the status quo.
Human silhouette. Researches in neuroscience have found that there is “brain” in the eye whose sole job is to read human silhouette. If we see a human silhouette that takes up lots of space and has angular sharp edges it sends a message quickly to our primitive limbic brain that there could be danger and that the person with that silhouette is powerful. So, guess what, we pay attention to them, we watch their every move, they captivate us and we may anoint that person with power.  Here is an example: Hitler did what many leaders have done worked on iconic image, his silhouette. He understood that he had to create a nonverbal image to imprint on the brains of his audiences. When you think of your image of Hitler you typically imagine Hitler’s sharp angular large gesturing angry silhouette. The viewer thinks this man is powerful and dangerous.

The next charismatic factor is likability. So who smiles the most? Who makes the most focused eye contact when being interviewed? Who looks into the camera? Who do we think of as being out in the crowd connecting smiling and shaking hands? Who has the most positive uplifting body language and messaging?

The last is attractiveness. Who has the most facial and body symmetry. Who is the hotly?Who looks the most fit and energetic?
Take the three Charismatic factors, Power, Likability and Attractiveness and look for them in all the candidates. Who has them all and shows them the most will win the popular vote. 

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at