Example of essay on non-verbal communication: the obama case

Non-verbal communication is usually used in order to express power as well as status. It is also used in order to convey a wide variety of emotions and feelings such as love, anger, and compassion. It is an on-going process in the human person and is part of every human endeavor. True enough, nonverbal communication enhances verbal communication in any case of human interaction. Through gestures of the hands and the head, a single statement become the most striking in any speech or confrontation. One of the best examples of how nonverbal communication is best demonstrated is in the speeches of United States president Barack Obama. This paper aims to analyze the nonverbal communication conveyed by Barack Obama in some of his speeches in order to determine if there is a difference across situations and audiences.
Obama was first placed on the center stage during his campaign for the presidency in 2008. In his “ Yes We Can” speech in January 8 of the same year he was able to move thousands of people as he spoke of his platforms to the American people. Here, an excited and passionate Obama can be seen. His words were emphasized using gestures that are mostly conveyed by the hands. These gestures fill most of his speech with an almost closed fist pointing out, mainly in order to pinpoint a certain idea. He would also be seen stretching his arms forward several times which were greatly received by the cheering crowd. Most of these confident hand gestures can also be seen in his 2014 state of the union address where he gestures to express firmness on certain points.
While Obama’s speech in his own country appeared to be filled with nonverbal communication, the case seems to be different when he is facing a different audience. When he gave a speech at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in December 10, 2013, for example, his gestures seemed more controlled. Also, there was not a point where he used the full extent of his arms in pointing out certain thoughts despite the large crowd that was cheering him as he spoke. In his address to the British parliament in 2011, his gestures were more controlled and perhaps almost none at all as he spoke about the relationship between the U. S and the U. K.
It appears that Obama’s nonverbal communication is varied across a number of situations and audiences. While there is no clear evidence to suggest that his nonverbal communication before and after he won president is different, it is clear that his nonverbal communication matches the situation and the people he was talking to. Aside from his usual shifting of weight from one foot to the other, he would stretch out his arms for his people, strongly raise his hands to express a point in congress, and stay calm in front of a foreign audience. In conclusion, President Obama’s nonverbal communication has remained constant over the years, yet has always adjusted depending on the event and the people.

Works Cited

Listitude. Obama yes we can [FULL] – famous speech. 9 August 2012. web. 28 February 2014.
Riggio, Ronald E. and R. S. Feldman. ” Introduction to applications of nonverbal communication.” Riggio, Ronald E. and R. S. Feldman. Applications of nonverbal communication. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 2009. xi-x. Print.
The White House. President Obama addresses the British Parliament . 25 May 2011. web. 28 February 2014.
—. President Obama speaks at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela. 10 December 2013. web. 28 February 2014.
—. The 2014 State of the Union Address (Enhanced Version) . 28 January 2014. web. 28 February 2014.