A Body Language Expert Explains Why Donald Trump's Facial Expressions Resonate With Audiences

Mar. 24, 2016 at 1:52 pm
By Katherine Noel/Business Insider

Close your eyes and conjure up an image of Donald Trump. What’s the first mental picture you get?

Is he grinning from ear to ear? Or maybe shouting, his brows furrowed in anger, both arms raised in the air?

The many faces of Donald Trump have been on constant display over the last several months, plastered on newspaper covers and television screens across the world as he shouts, laughs, and fist pumps his way toward the GOP nomination.

Trump’s unbridled emotion is a key factor in his popularity among voters, according to body language expert and author Patti Wood. Wood says that Trump is better at expressing emotion — and specifically, a broad range of emotion — than any other candidate in the race.

“Trump has what we call emotional contagion,” Wood says, “meaning he has very strong, very clearly communicated emotions, and because of his charisma, those emotions transfer to the voter. So, we can’t stop watching him. If he’s on the screen, and we’re looking at several other people too, his loudness, his gestures, and his expressions all draw our attention straight to him.”
According to Wood, it’s a leader’s ability to show and communicate a broad range of emotions that translates into perceived power and charisma. Whether he’s on the national debate stage or at a small-town campaign appearance, Trump doesn’t shy away from big reactions.
“When we think of him, in our mind we have an image of him smiling, and then we have an image of him sneering,” Woods says. “It’s that vast scope of emotion, that broad band between those two extremes and his hold on it that makes him look powerful.”
Emotional expression is key to public speaking, Wood says, because it makes a speaker appear more human, relatable, and trustworthy. And the more expressive the better. She says Trump’s “electric smile” — corners of the mouth upturned, raised eyebrows, and wide eyes — provides “instant charisma.”

Because many people think effective leadership means being cool and collected, they try to repress their feelings. But experts say it’s usually better to let your passion shine through.
“We hide emotions in an attempt to stay in control, look strong, and keep things at arm’s length, but in reality, doing so diminishes our control and weakens our capacity to lead,” leadership consultant Doug Sundheim writes in the Harvard Business Review. “Genuine emotion stands in stark contrast. It’s a real person sharing a real feeling.”
“When we hear it, we’re riveted — for one because it’s rare, but also because it’s real,” he adds. “Sometimes it’s uncomfortable and a little messy. But that’s what makes it powerful.”

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

6 Secrets to Negotiating a Raise Like a Boss

6 Secrets to Negotiating a Raise Like a Boss
April 11, 2016 9:00 am by Marissa Miller

Whether you’re negotiating the terms of your contract before accepting the job or asking for a raise that reflects your value as an employee, asking for more money is a skill you’ll rely on time and again throughout your entire career. Having “The Talk” can be complicated, not to mention intimidating. But because the gender pay gap is far too wide, with women making a national average of 79 cents for every man’s dollar, championing your self-worth has never been more important.
“This is a very complicated issue, but what we do know is that the pay gap starts as soon as a woman throws her graduation cap in the air,” says Deepti Gudipati, VP of Member Leadership Programs at the American Association of University Women (AAUW), a leading organization promoting equity and education for women and girls. “The AAUW’s research shows that just one year out of college, women working full time already earn less than their male colleagues earn—even when they have the same major and work in the same field.”
The Equal Pay Act hasn’t been updated since 1963, so it’s up to us to institute change. Until Congress takes actionable steps toward equality, celebrate Equal Pay Day tomorrow by using these tips from the pros.
1. Choose Syntax Wisely
“Our research suggests you should pronounce the ‘give’ in negotiations rather than the ‘take.’ In salary negotiations, this means what the other party gains from you,” says Roman Trötschel, a researcher and professor in the department of social and organizational psychology at the University of Lüneburg.
First, gauge the other party’s underlying interests: What does your boss or the recruiter want, and why? “Most employees only talk about the money without emphasizing what they are willing to give. This leads to a huge power imbalance,” he says. It’s crucial to have an arsenal of evidence-backed defenses at the ready when asking for more money. Make mental notes (or better yet, a fact sheet documenting all the targets you’ve exceeded or projects you’ve initiated). Here are some safe phrases to put your boss’s mind at ease:
Through my work, the company gained x, y, and z in the last years.
If you agree, we both could win . . .
I’m offering to take on the following tasks in the future . . .
And be decisive. A recent study by Trötschel published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that saying something declarative to the effect of “I charge $50 per hour for my services” is more effective than asking, “Will you accept $50 an hour?”
2. Pose Powerfully
Sure, it’s easy to relegate yourself to the confines of email when discussing touchy topics like money, but schedule an IRL meeting with your boss and you’ll reap major financial rewards. Not only does that suggest you’re serious about making a case for yourself, but it will give you the opportunity to power pose.
A recent Harvard Business School study found that those who adopted expansive, high-power poses, as opposed to contracted ones like hand clasping, performed better during high-stakes professional settings. The study also found that nailing these nonverbal poses reduces stress and anxiety, giving you the confidence to fake it until you make it (the money that is).
3. Perfect Your Voice
It’s all in the delivery. Don’t deviate radically from your natural intonation, since that could come off as insincere, but if you have a bad case of vocal fry (a common speech trait in women where definitive statements come off as questions), now’s the time to keep it in check.
To complicate matters a bit more, a study published in NeuroImage, a Journal of Brain Function, found that your boss, regardless of their gender, may interpret a high-pitched female voice differently than a male’s, activating certain regions in the brain that may process information in a gender-discriminatory way. The (somewhat) good news? “You can train [your voice] to be lower,” says Patti Wood, president of Communication Dynamics, body language expert, and author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language & Charisma. She suggests deep relaxation using in-and-out breathing counting on the count of three to relax the vocal cords. Use caution when pepping yourself up on coffee or iced beverages, since they can shrink your vocal cords, registering your voice higher.
4. Dress the Part
If a picture can speak a thousand words, perhaps your outfit can speak a thousand bucks. Before that meeting with your boss, think critically about what you want your appearance to convey. Of course, don’t show up completely unrecognizable, but go the extra mile to iron out any creases in your blouse.
“More than anything, you have to feel your very best in whatever you’re wearing. It has to be your favorite, whether a skirt or a jacket,” says Wood. “Whatever you wear needs to have a power or comfort to it. Do what feels best for you.” Employ power colors like red and black that tend to make people feel protected and strong. Finally, Wood recommends sticking to flats since they’ll help you maintain balance both mentally and physically.
5. Visualize Success
In moments of stress, our brains tend to shut down, which does little in the way of putting your best negotiating skills forward. Instead of letting your mind travel to dark places of failure, condition it to do just the opposite.
“Actually visualize and script out your success. Think of that as an obstacle course that you’re winning,” Wood says. This way, your brain is already familiar with feelings of success, so you’ll be more confident. She says she’s seen it work wonders for clients.
6. Stay True to Your Feminine Side
Women often have a strong kind, nurturing side, and those traits often don’t fit within the traditional schema of “power.” But there’s a silver lining. “One thing you want to use in negotiation is your ability to read people,” says Wood. “We’re adept at that: being able to understand people. You can read people to know how far to push or how soft you need to be. See it as a strength.”

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