3 things body language can reveal during Quebec’s debate

Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois will be pointing out illegal Liberal assets. Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press
Coalition Avenir du Quebec leader Francois Legault will be angling to get a solid political punch in. Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press
Quebec Solidaire leader Francoise David inevitably becomes the voice of reason in debate chaos. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Liberal party leader Philippe Couillard will be pointing out all the PQ failings. Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

MONTREAL – As Quebec’s four main party leaders – and the voting public – get ready for the final televised election debate on Thursday night, many pundits are wondering how to get past the mudslinging and political posturing.

No matter how polished and practised the politician, ultimately he or she is human. As humans mainly communicate through body language, this can often be an interesting place to look for what’s known in poker as a “tell.”

A tell is a change in behavior or demeanor that may give clues to people’s assessment of their “hand.” In a political debate, it could reveal an unconscious action that betrays discomfort, confidence or even an attempted deception.

Head knodding
When politicians are nodding “yes” as they’re saying “no” (or vice versa), this could be a sign that what they’re saying simply may not be true.

Talk to the hand
Hands are very expressive and are often used to illustrate our storytelling: imagine what you do with your hands when you’re frustrated. A red flag during the debate could be when politicians don’t use their hands at all – a possible indication that they’re not really that invested in what they are saying.

Playing defence
Are the politicians awkwardly stiff? This could indicate that someone is freezing up to avoid showing any emotion. Another possible sign of a defensive reaction could be the arms: a crossed arms stance indicates negativity and general sense of unwelcomeness.

What were your key “tells” while watching the debate? Let us know in the comments.

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