Charisma in Politics, the body language of politicians


2007, France
Original language
Running time
anthropology, society
Directed by
Thierry Berrod
Written by
Thierry Berrod
Produced by
Mona Lisa Production
Member page
Mona Lisa Production

Spontaneous or carefully rehearsed expressions, consistent or disorganized gestures, defiant or receptive postures. Such are the little signs that tell us a great deal about our political leaders and determine our reactions, of acceptance or rejection.

It has long been recognized that only a tiny proportion of a speech's impact depends on its content: approximately 7% according to the work of Professor A. Mehrabian and other experts, who conducted studies on this subject since the 1960's. On the other hand, non-verbal communication accounts for more than 93% of the effectiveness of a speech: 55% for facial expressions and 38% for paralinguistic elements (voice, intonation, gestures, posture, etc…).

In our modern societies where the images of politicians receive high exposure – on the front page of magazines, in the television news, on electoral posters – politicians have quickly come to understand that a frank smile and a confident, relaxed attitude are worth more than a great speech. That facial expressions and hand gestures make all the difference. This is what ethologists have been demonstrating over the last decades.