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What clues did Donald Trump and Theresa May's body language give us about the 'special relationship'?

Credit: AP
  • By Caroline Goyder, voice and body language expert

So, how special was the relationship between The Donald and the Maybot today? Their body language tonight gives us a few clues.

When it comes to body language none of us can present alternative facts. It's in the spontaneous, unconscious moments that we “Ieak” the truth.

And what struck me above all was that Donald Trump looked far more relaxed in Theresa May’s presence than he had in previous media appearances and speeches this week.

Since his inauguration he’s had the tense jaw and shallow breathing pattern of someone feeling the pressure, and his voice has sounded forced from the throat, in an attempt to project power.

But in the press conference this evening his voice had markedly warmer, richer tones. It appeared that he was feeling good about life.

When the voice is warm and resonant it tells you that the body, (the resonator of the sound) and the breath, (the power source), are more relaxed.

Trump’s face looked different too, the eyes were more relaxed, far less stary and his jaw was less clenched than it has been. Gesture was also more expansive and less jerky than earlier in the week.

Credit: AP

Theresa May had clearly said the right things. I can’t help feeling that the broad grin spreading across Trump’s face when a state visit was mentioned had worked its magic on him. Bet the Queen can’t wait.

Theresa May was less expansive in her delivery – her voice was contained, jaw tense, shoulders high and guarded.

She delivered the news that Trump was “100% behind NATO” with staccato force, pinning it there for posterity.

When Russian sanctions came up in questions her face became a mask of tension.

For Trump it’s all about the deal, and he’s just got himself a trip to the Palace, and down memory lane given that his mother was born in Scotland. For May, it’s complicated, and her closed, stiff body language gave it away.

However there was one moment that gave the press conference special relationship the feel of the Hollywood “meet-cute”.

This gesture appears to signify connection and openness. Credit: AP

As Trump gestured to May to speak, she simultaneously gestured back with exactly the same expansive open palm gesture – which signifies connection and openness. It was a moment of rapport, they seemed genuinely in sync for a brief window of time.

Whether these special friends will stay that way is anybody’s guess, but that moment and Trump’s broad grin suggests that they found some common ground behind the closed doors of the Oval Office.

Caroline Goyder is a voice and body language expert. She is the author of Gravitas and founder of gravitasmethod.com. Her views do not necessarily reflect those of ITV News

Caroline Goyder is a voice and body language expert. Credit: Caroline Goyder

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