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Body Language Insights on the 2015 Houston Mayoral Race – Part 1

Sylvester Turner vs. Bill King
Mayoral candidates 2015
11 Sep 2015

Body Language Insights on the 2015 Houston Mayoral Race – Part 1

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While early morning storms were threatening to flood roads, the city’s candidates for the 2015 mayoral race faced off in a breakfast forum hosted by The Roundup Panel of Fox 26 Houston.

I was there to continue my analysis of the candidates’ body language as they responded to questions from both the panel and from each other.

It’s been a long campaign for these seven men who have entered a crowded field. They were tired, especially coming off of last night’s televised debate, but they soldiered on in what is still a very tight race.

If I had to pick one interesting dynamic between candidates, it would be the contrasting but equally powerful styles of Sylvester Turner and Bill King. Both are thoroughly versed in the issues, completely confident in their proposed solutions, and believe the devil is in the details.

They each use a lot of specialized gestures called illustrators that match and amplify their spoken message. This is the first kind of gesture that gets dropped when a speaker is nervous, unsure, or unconvinced about what they’re saying. This has not been a problem for either candidate, and so both come across as confident and authentic.

However, Turner and King diverge in their approach.

Turner seduces his audience using open, flirty body language. You might even catch him checking his hands or adjusting his cufflinks while listening to a question he’s preparing to answer. That’s a something a man typically does before introducing himself to an attractive lady.

King frames his responses as well researched and well reasoned. He’s authoritative without being robotic. When standing at podium you might find him slightly leaning on one arm in an evaluative stance, later balancing this out with a few select power gestures to show he’s ready to take action.

All the candidates have fascinating communication styles and I will be elaborating on them after next week’s forums in part 2 of this commentary series. 

See you next week! Read part 2 here

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