Iliescu’s nonverbal communication abilities

For a politician, mastering nonverbal communication is crucial. Many of us were wondered how Ion Iliescu managed to win so quickly the hearts (and the votes, also) of millions, and to keep, after that, huge sympathy? The answer is: because Mr. Iliescu is a master in nonverbal communication and an accomplished actor. If Oscar would have been available for politicians, he would already have won several pieces.

But let’s bring some proofs. Let’ analyze, for instance, his first speech on TV. The historic context was that people were rising against Ceausescu’s, Ceausescu’s  fled by chopper – and were not yet captured, the country was in chaos, in various place  various  opportunists were trying to seize the power. A charismatic person was needed, a man who could provide peace, a new leader. And the new leader of Romanian politics came, with an inspiring speech.

The speech lasts 2:20 minutes and is available here:

Watch it, and feel the nonverbal fragrance of a real politician, molded by Communist Party’s school, forged in countless briefings when, with proletarian rage, was denouncing the capitalism.

In the table below, you can find excerpts from the speech, images with gestures and facials expressions, time of their production and their interpretation.

Picture Time Verbal Content Gestures
 noverbal communication iliescu 1 00:02 For now silence, the starting point of the speech. Hands are with fingers spread, resting on the table. The head slightly bent down. It is an authoritative position, adopted by those who want to impose themselves. Facial expressions denote determination.
 nonverbal communication iliescu 2  00:20 We have already signals that groups of citizens… Mr. Iliescu refers to some citizens that are perceived as turbulent, citizens wanting to disrupt the revolution. The large gesture made with right hand wants to suggest that these citizens are not one of ours, they are malevolent outsiders. Facial expression may be interpreted as a mix of surprise and contempt.
nonverbal communication iliescu 2  00:26 This is not a good signal for the changing which is happening… The index finger is used to draw attention towards a focal point, an important one. In this context, it is used by Mr. Iliescu to emphasize the gravity of the moment.
 nonverbal communication iliescu 4 00:32 The people must act as an ordered and united force… The hammer movements want to transmit force, union, and aggression. Also, mark rhythmically the speech.
 nonverbal communication iliescu 5  00:38 To see that here order is enforced… Gesture with index finger pointing down. Signifies the place where Mr. Iliescu thinks it is power center that means exactly the place where he is situated.
 nonverbal communication iliescu 6  00:49 An not to some leaders who called themselves leaders of the people… Hand wavering with spread fingers. In contrast with clenched fist – which suggested people’s power, these spread fingers want to suggest a plurality lacking force and meaning.  The head slightly tilted back signifies contempt.
 nonverbal communication iliescu 7  00:56 The they don’t have anything in common, either with socialism, or  with scientific socialism ideology… A clear facial expression of anger. The eyebrows are drawn together, the look is tough, lowered eyelids contracted. Large gesture with hand, indicates the breadth of the feelings he has against „class enemies”.
 nonverbal communication iliescu 8  01:17 But we must organize ourselves… Fingers drawn together, in pyramid shape. It points to a delicate thing, we must concentrate upon and take it seriously. The look says the same thing – concentration, determination.
 nonverbal communication iliescu 9  0:29 Measures to be taken immediately, so that in few days order to be reinstated…. Here Mr. Iliescu makes a large hand sweeping, from the light to right. The order suggested by him will come as a „sweeper”, chasing away all the inimical forces.
nonverbal communication iliescu 10  01:43 And a future program, to secure a development, as it is wished by the people… Gestures meaning to emphasize the progress, things going forward. Although in the picture taken is not visible, the gesture has started right from his chest and is moving towards the camera, towards the viewers. As a symbol for saying: „I am the one who’ll provide to you the progress”.