Hands of power – the evolution of gesture in Obama’s speech-making

Watch this abc news clip of Obama talking about national and international security, and note his gestures. They have become much more defined since he famously took to the podium at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. I suspect this reflects a growing self-assurance and confidence in his own ability. He may have been less confident, understandably, at the outset of his presidential campaign – even if he didn’t show it. Self-belief is obviously a pretty important trait for a leader trying to bring differing constituencies together, let alone a leader of ‘the free world’.

The other thing that strikes me is that the gestures are in tune with, and expressive of, what he’s saying with his words. As Benedict Nightingale, writing in the Times, implies, Obama comes across as (my distinction) being more of a sincere storyteller than, like Tony Blair et al., an insincere actor –

Somehow his serious and sober charisma leaves you feeling that, not only is he the man to heal the divisions left from America’s very beginnings, but that he has the assurance, the intelligence, the stature to deal with such matters as terrorism, global warming, a faltering economy. As as unactorly actor he gets five stars from me. As a president – well, perhaps the world will see.

Thanks to Marion Drobig for the article.


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