President Joe Biden confronts some of the biggest challenges facing any U.S. president in modern history. The coronavirus pandemic has taken the lives of more than 400,000 Americans. A deadly insurrection took place at the U.S. Capitol just two weeks before Biden’s inauguration as the 46th president of the United States. Biden’s Inauguration Day speech stressed unity, but he was candid about the state of the nation. Body language expert Alison Henderson of Moving Image Consulting shared her professional analysis of Biden’s body language during his historic speech with Nicki Swift.
“Plainspoken President Biden showed up consistently in his inaugural address today. The emphasis was on laying out the challenges while asking for unity,” Henderson said. “…Almost all of his gestures were symmetrical. This indicates strength, balance and equality. Unified gestures echoed the unity he seeks.”
Henderson’s company, Moving Image Consulting, works with top corporations to empower leaders to communicate effectively. “One of the most striking moments was when he pointed straight at all of us when he talked about ‘all Americans,'” she said. “He wasn’t afraid to come right for us and point us out. This hearkens back to the posters of Uncle Sam pointing, ‘I want you.'”
Henderson said Biden “exhibited the most movement when he was talking about lies.” In her view, “His whole body rocked slightly with the passion he feels for combatting lies and finding the truth.”
Keep reading to learn about Biden’s body language during his inauguration speech on Jan. 20, 2021.
President Biden communicated in a personal way during the inauguration
In President Joe Biden’s Inauguration Day speech on Jan. 20, 2021, he appealed to an idea of teamwork among all Americans, saying: “We’ve learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed!” Body language expert Lauren Cohen, an executive and career coach, shared her analysis of President Biden’s body language with Nicki Swift.
“Biden used his hands and turned to look and speak to the entire crowd,” she said. “President Biden came in ready to lead and asking for unity. He communicated in a personal way, not as a charismatic orator. His body language mirrored his words and he was ‘folksy’ and simple.” Cohen added, “This was not an emotionally charged speech as most inauguration speeches tend to be, but part of that has to do with the political climate. He spoke a lot about the realities of problematic issues facing our nation.”
Cohen’s expertise in sociolinguistics allows her to provide very specific insights about body language. “There has been an overarching theme of grief with President Biden, and no doubt there is a sadness that he carries — about his son Beau, about what has been going on,” she said. “Biden does not come across as energetic, and his calmer way is also a deliberate attempt to reinforce that this administration will be very different.”
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