Trump visit to India – Modi & Trump Two Eminent Personalities
The pictures above are from the recent visit of US President Donald Trump to India on 24th and 25th Feb ’20. Both the leaders claimed to have genuine respect for each other and have taken great pains to show that they share a good friendship. We have selected a few pictures of the two eminent personalities together as they toured. All the time while these pictures are being taken, the leaders are aware that they are being clicked. Can you arrange the pictures in a way to show the pictures in ascending order of depicting good “onscreen” chemistry? This means you need to look for body language cues that would reveal that Modi and Trump are on equal footing or sharing good rapport. So what is that order of pictures for you?
The correct order according to the cues that body language reveals is 2,3,4,1. Here is why:
1: This scenario takes the cake. Noting the change in behavior is the key to understanding why even though this is a posed photo, it works well to signal the leaders’ respect for each other and the rapport they share. At other instances in this rally and previously, we have observed Modi showing the slightest hints of dominance through his nonverbals. This is one instance where he deliberately raised Trump’s hand with his, showing them to look exactly the same. And what is noteworthy is there is absolutely no hint of any leader being on top of the other in terms of power play. And that’s the reason this one works to show genuine respect.
2: In this picture, though both leaders are seated close enough to be in each other’s personal space, and are smiling and conversing, we need to remember the context. They know they are on camera. What is noteworthy is the touch that Modi is exchanging with Trump. Ideally, there would be a tap on the arm if the touch is professional. Or a punch on the arm like we saw Trump give Modi in a friendly manner when they last met in Davos. Here what is visible is Modi touching Trump with just his fingers, in a way that his palm is facing downwards. Authoritative and not totally committed to the touch. This is why this attempt to show bonding is not working for us.
3: Here we see lesser space between the two leaders and they are actually looking directly into each other’s eyes and conversing. Trump’s body is tilted towards Modi and Modi is showing no discomfort due to breach of personal space. We would have been happier to see some synchrony in their actions but since that is missing, this is the second picture in order for us.
4: This picture is significant. Modi and Trump are approaching the next stop in their rally. While they are walking at some distance from each other and not even conversing or interacting, notice how their movements are in lockstep. Feet moving together, hands also moving together. This is our brain’s unconscious way of showing natural rapport with another being.
We wish the leaders the very best to take India – US relations to the next level!
Photo credit: Doordarshan