Berlin Every statement, every movement, every look counts: the closer the election evening approaches, the more closely the voters observe the candidates for chancellor. Who seems nervous, who is reaching the audience? On Sunday the second TV triall between the chancellor candidates Annalena Baerbock (Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen), Armin Laschet (CDU) and Olaf Scholz (SPD) will take place. Here, for the second time, viewers have the chance to compare the appearance of the candidates.
After the persistently poor poll results from the CDU and the increasing popularity of Olaf Scholz, it is eagerly awaited how the candidates will present themselves two weeks before the general election. Because after the last TV triall, observers partly criticized the appearance of the three politicians. Union Chancellor candidate Armin Laschet had to put up with criticism from several sides that he was overwhelmed, he lacked clout.
Three body language experts reveal how the candidates affect the audience – and give advice on how the upcoming triell will be a success for the parties. “A calm reaction in stressful situations is an important quality for any chancellor,” explains body language expert Ulrich Sollmann. Body language can be used to estimate how the candidate might behave in stressful situations in the future.
The higher the stress, the more automated the behavioral patterns. “You already get the impression: If a crisis comes, the person will react in a similar way.” The three candidates would still have to fight for the favor of the German citizens. “Everyone has to improve in order to convince the voters,” says performance coach Michael Moesslang.
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When it comes to the question of which of the candidates for chancellor is currently best presented, the experts are unanimous. “Scholz is the most confident,” says Moesslang. “His calm voice, the rare shifts in weight and authentic reactions to attacks against him set him apart from Laschet and Baerbock.” However, in places he lacked the necessary expression in voice and gestures, which made him seem tired, especially at the end of the duel.
Laschet’s opponents have him “on a leash”
Body language expert Peter Modler also attests to the Vice Chancellor: “Scholz has the head doctor habitus.” The other candidates are hectic, the SPD candidate, on the other hand, brings an authority into the action with his consistent calm. “And you believe him – simply because of his choreography.”
Talk levels by Peter Modler
According to the expert Sollmann, Scholz has properties that could definitely be of use to him in the future: “Scholz often sends out the signal to stay calm under stress. This is extremely important for someone who wants to become chancellor, ”confirms the coach. While the other candidates for chancellor were discussing with each other, the vice chancellor watched quietly – without participating.
CDU boss Armin Laschet, on the other hand, has no internal structure that gives him security in stressful events. “He leaned on his desk – he can do that during a speech in the state parliament, but in such a situation it shows that he cannot hide his emotionality, that he is not stable,” says Sollmann. “But he needs it under stress.” This creates the impression that his opponents have him “on a leash” when they make their statements.
Laschet also moves his legs too often and “taps with his feet”, explains expert Modler. “He often seems nervous.” The NRW Prime Minister could not withstand any tension. On the other hand, he scores with emphasis by adding emphasis to key words through eye contact and a slightly raised index finger. For example, with the sentence: “Do not deceive the voter.”
Baerbock is also “rhetorically very strong,” explains expert Modler. “Your aggressive attacks are well received by party supporters.” Because the confrontation between the governing parties does justice to the function of the Greens as a party to break new ground. “This is the only chance she has.” The Green candidate is particularly good at metaphors, according to the expert.
Words like “ducking away” or sentences like “our children are in daycare and are afraid of being washed away” inevitably triggered emotions in the audience. However, her shrill voice seems “intrusive” to sympathizers of other parties. Her movements also appeared to be “sometimes rehearsed” and “not very authentic”.
In contrast to Armin Laschet, expert Sollmann certifies that the Green candidate is stable – but it gives the impression that she has a “stick in her back”. Baerbock could gain persuasiveness if she allowed herself the freedom of movement and the ability to adapt, but not through forced humanity, “such as through the constant use of the term“ children ”,” advises Sollmann.
“A boss doesn’t run”
For the upcoming triall on Sunday, expert Modler advises all candidates to be more calm: “Let that be with your quick hand movements.” The sovereignty is far more important than paying attention to the exact facial expression.
Another tip: A slow gesture could also have a sublime effect on the other candidates. “The excitement of the other side increases your own sovereignty – a boss doesn’t run.”
Irritated head shaking and resigned hand movements, such as Armin Laschet’s, should be avoided, according to Modler. “Instead, the candidates should make an offensive hand gesture, such as a slow stop motion with the palm of the hand raised.”
The three politicians could also benefit from a clarification of rank. “Like Armin Laschet, Scholz could do a lot more riding around in his office and emphasize that he is the Vice Chancellor of the Federal Republic!” In contrast to Scholz, Laschet often discussed his experience in government in North Rhine-Westphalia. Annalena Baerbock does not have this option, as she does not hold a comparable position through which she could intimidate her opponents.
Her advice to Modler: “Baerbock has to see that she leaves this terrain quickly when the other side starts.” Instead, the Green candidate could start introducing effective basic talk. For example, a popular phrase like “you said that five years ago” would confuse and paralyze the other person.
In preparation for the triell, the candidates should speak their planned conversation content aloud to themselves, suggests Modler. Voice recordings can also help analyze your own speed. “Take breaks,” warns the expert. “It is pauses that give authority.”
In addition, Laschet and Baerbock should prepare to drastically slow down their gestures. “A critical observer helps if you say: halve your speed. Even if it makes you feel strange – it always has a positive effect on the audience. ”
Sollmann also advises the Green Party candidate to be more calm: “I would advise Annalena Baerbock to take a deep breath. She has to dare to take breaks from speaking. ”Otherwise there is a risk that she will get caught up in her many arguments and that the audience will not be able to follow. “Often two arguments are enough instead of five.”
Breathing exercises, for example, would be advisable in preparation for the event. “Baerbock should lean back in front of the triell and not think about your arguments,” explains Sollmann. Instead of lining them up one after the other, the expert advises the candidate to be more confrontational with the opponents.
Scholz has a weak point under stress
Moesslang recommends three things to speakers: An upright posture with a straight back and a firm stance – this imparts leadership skills. Eye contact and “a smile too” also have a human effect and arouse sympathy.
Gestures and facial expressions brought liveliness. “You can’t offer too much of that,” he says. Because with adults it is difficult to tell when someone is lying or telling the truth. “The more gestures the audience experiences, the more they buy their statements from the candidate.”
According to Sollmann, SPD Chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz has a weak point under stress: “He becomes too calm and could lose lively contact with his counterpart.” This did not happen to the SPD politician during the last triell. In order not to get stuck in his professionalism, however, he must take precautions: “Scholz has to consider: What are the red lines in communication that could be disconnected?” He should keep his typical slight smile – that brings ease. Like Chancellor Angela Merkel, Scholz has a situational sense of humor that he can also bring to bear.
Union chancellor candidate Armin Laschet must above all watch out for his stress level. “As a coach, I would address this severe stress,” said Sollmann. Armin Laschet should use his own resources and personal experience of coping with stress to alleviate his nervousness. He could also take an example from the feeling of security that SPD candidate Scholz exudes. “There’s not a red monster around every corner,” advises Sollmann to the CDU candidate for chancellor.
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