Newsweek

Trump Says a Lot, but Not With Words

The president-elect is a fascinating study in the power of nonverbal forms of communication.
Donald Trump speaks during his first press conference since winning the election in the Trump Tower in New York, on January 11. His body language demonstrates the power of nonverbal forms of communication.
02_03_BodyLanguage_01 Source: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Experts have long known that humans communicate with much more than just words. Nonverbal cues are critical in everyday situations, from parenting effectively to dating to acing a job interview, or even getting served in a timely fashion at a restaurant.

These cues are also important for assessing and forming opinions about the people around us, including public figures. Plenty of research shows that hand gestures, posture and facial expression and other visual communication cues (even how close a person stands near others) are ripe for interpretation. Often-cited (and debated) research from psychologist Albert Mehrabian suggests that 55 percent of human communication is through body language, 38 percent is the tone of voice, and only 7 percent of

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