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John Daly: When It Comes to Body Language, What’s Donald Trump Got?

(Make America NEW​ video)

[Author’s note: This column in no way is meant to be political commentary. I am not espousing a political viewpoint or trying to get behind any of the presidential candidates. It is simply an observation. I sincerely welcome comments and opinions about my observations to be posted at the end of the column.]

As I sat watching the Feb. 25 Republican presidential debate moderated by CNN personalities, it became apparent that this was the night for Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to attack Donald Trump.

I was struck by the body language on stage and its resulting impact. Both Cruz and Rubio began to turn and look at Trump during their attacks. But Trump very rarely looked at either of the other candidates. He stared straight ahead into the audience or the camera during both Cruz and Rubio’s attacks and his responses to them.

In addition, often when he began to speak, Trump would spread his arms up and out, almost signifying a “winner” stance and making him look larger and more important.

This type of stance frightens others. It was a silent signal that “If I can make them crumble, think of what I can do with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other world leaders.”

The effect was telling. It made candidates Cruz and Rubio livid. The more he refused to look at them, the angrier they became. They individually turned and stared at him when Trump responded or as they attacked. Their voices became louder, and they often appeared to be petulant, even desperate, and almost childlike in their attempts to get both verbal and visual responses from him.

The more this happened, the more Trump appeared to be in control. In essence, he took their power from them as a result.

It very much reminded me of the book, I’m OK - You’re OK by Dr. Thomas Harris that explains transactional analysis and delineates three observable ego-states (Parent, Adult and Child) as the basis for the content and quality of interpersonal communication.

In the debate, Trump’s more parent-like stance appeared to bring out childlike qualities in Rubio and Cruz.

Even with Trump’s generalized statements and lack of specific details, his demeanor took away the impact of logical arguments offered by his opponents.

Like him or hate him, Trump is a master at stealing the show, and his body language expertise in this particular debate didn’t help the other candidates, particularly Cruz and Rubio.

Unfortunately, a number of news commentators made the argument that — because of dwelling on personal attacks instead of the real issues — neither Trump, Cruz nor Rubio appeared “presidential” during the debate.

This can translate to all of our lives. I’ve written about body language before, but think about the significant impact you can affect on business or personal relationships, negotiations and day-to-day interaction if you study body language techniques and utilize them.

Take 20 minutes to review Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on Body Language below. It might blow you away.

John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the keys to life skills success. Click to learn more about The Key Class, or click here to buy his book. John’s new book, 74 Key Life Skills for a Happy, Successful Life, is available on Amazon. Connect with The Key Class on Facebook and follow John on Twitter @johnjdalyjr. Do you have a question about business or social etiquette? Ask John at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

(Angela Jo Manieri​ video)

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