Facial expressions, hand gestures: The body language of the debates

Posted at 11:00 PM, Sep 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 07:28:15-04

The first showdown between President Donald Trump and Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden ended after a lot of interruption and back and fourth.

Leading up to and during the debate we talked to body language experts Rebecca Klein-Scott and Keith Scott.

Facial expressions, hand gestures, changes in inflection.

A long sip of water means the candidate is taking time to react.

Those are just some of the things I learned about the battle happening on the surface of the words tonight.

“This is our football game,” Rebecca said.

The Scott’s were glued to their screen for a super bowl of sorts in the area of their expertise.

Rebecca broke down what different gestures mean.

“One of the biggest mistakes we see is people building barriers with their hands. When candidates do this it’s separating themselves from the audience. When our palms are pointed towards ourselves it shows that we’re not open to other peoples ideas. It creates a closure.

Keith talked about a walk up during a pandemic.

”In the first 5 to 10 seconds when both candidates that’s when you want to watch. Especially in the season we are in with COVID. How do they plan the rules. Who walks to the middle who tries to push forward. Who tries to shake hands or bump fists. I guarantee you will see a power play there.”

Because of coronavirus the candidates had to physically stay away from each other.

We didn’t get what we saw when President Trump and Hillary Clinton were debating against each other.

But the experts say there still was a lot to read in the way that they walked up.

“When Biden came out he had his fists closed yet it was still open because he was trying to greet Trump. It would have been even better had he had his palms out. Both parties were looking for action,” said Rebecca.

Keith talked about how the president walked up.

“You notice when Trump came out he kind of marched forward the Commander in Chief Posture. Biden came out with his fists up in the air like I’m ready let’s go take me on. It was very interesting to watch that power play.”

Once the debate started things quickly turned ugly with name calling on both sides and all kinds of body language showing through.

Over the next few weeks you’ll get plenty of chances to read the body language of the candidates.

The vice presidential candidates will face off next Wednesday and the second presidential debate is set for October 15