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October 3rd Presidential Debate

Did you watch the first debate between the Presidential candidates? I saw only the last ten minutes. The messages I heard didn’t seem new or surprising, given each candidate’s position. What I found interesting, though, was their body language.

In the portion of the debate that I saw, President Obama looked serious and his body language seemed to match his words. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, had a forced smile and looked much more stressed. His body language seemed incongruent with his message.

It’s no secret that candidates are well coached before a debate on what to say and how to direct the discussion. This coaching can do a lot to help them frame their words to support their positions as strongly as possible. To some extent, coaching can also help them tone down or shift their body language.

Yet the messages communicated by someone’s body language never totally disappear. Our words can be carefully chosen to show us in the way we want to be perceived. We can use words to manipulate, to hide our true feelings, and to just plain lie. Yet our body language never lies.

For this reason, if you are looking for information to help you decide which Presidential candidate to vote for, you might want to watch the upcoming debates carefully. Don’t just listen to the words, but focus on the candidates’ body language. Notice whether it is congruent with what they say. The words may be telling us whatever the candidates think we want to hear. The body language will be telling us the truth.

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