Trust is the conduit for influence; it’s the medium through which ideas travel.
It’s not uncommon for people to overvalue the importance of demonstrating their competence and power, often at the expense of demonstrating their warmth.
Politicians are very experienced – maybe too experienced – at using body language to signal power and competence. But what these politicians are much more likely to struggle with, or just neglect to do altogether, is communicate warmth and trustworthiness.
I sometimes work with a communications and media training firm called KNP Communications. It’s nice to bring the research to the practitioners; I learn a lot watching how they put it into practice, and I know they like to be on top of what’s happening on the research front.
A lot of politicians, not surprisingly, hire consultants to help them with their nonverbals, presence, generally how they come across.
Being a comfortable public speaker, which involves easily being able to go off-script, strongly signals competence.