nonverbal communication

  • What Richard Branson’s Body Language Told Me About Him

    What Richard Branson’s Body Language Told Me About Him

    I tuned into BT this morning (Breakfast Television for those of you reading this who aren’t from Ontario, Canada) to see how the Raptors made out last night. I’m not a huge basketball fan but when our country has made it this far into the finals, you gotta jump on the bandwagon.

    BT Hosts Dina Pugliese and Roger Peterson
    BT Hosts Dina Pugliese and Roger Peterson

    When I heard Dina Pugliese mention that Richard Branson was about to make a huge announcement on the next segment, I said to my husband, “I wonder what he’s doing in Toronto?”. Turns out he was announcing, or rather introducing, the captain of his new cruise ship – a female, and a Canadian! Both very cool, in my opinion.

    Photo credit –

    What I Knew About Richard Branson Before Watching Him On BT

    I knew two things about Richard Branson.

    1. He’s famous
    2. He’s a billionaire

    Make that three. I know he owns Virgin. That’s really all I know about the man. I don’t even know what Virgin is aside from a mobile company and a cruise ship line. This blog isn’t about what he’s known for, or at least, what I know about him. It’s about the amazing fact I discovered about him this morning, and then confirmed with a quick google search.

    Within the first two seconds of watching the interview on BT this morning, his body language conveyed something astounding about him.

    What Sir Richard and I Have in Common

    “OMG, He’s an introvert!” I blurted out to no one in particular, although my husband was right beside me.

    Image result for Richard Branson
    Image result for Richard Branson
    Photo credit:

    Why was I shocked by this revelation?

    I would never have expected someone of his fame, fortune and sheer genius to be an innie like me. Although, now that I think about it, many visionaries are indeed introverts.  We’re naturally inclined to spend much time of our time in our head imagining, daydreaming and often catastrophizing. When I went back and watched the video again while writing this blog, I saw that he evens talks about being 27 and envisioning a cruise line for 30 year olds. As the years passed, the age increased as he joked about, but he’s making it happen. Talk about the power of visualization! Clearly Sir Richard has harnessed the power of his imagination for the good.

    As a proud introvert, I’m aware of a handful of famous people that share this personality trait and I’m always pleasantly surprised to find living examples of people who appear to live in the limelight but actually reside in the quiet of an introverted world.

    What Richard Branson’s Body Language Told Me About Him

    If you’ve read this far, you’re likely asking, “OK Jen, so what did you see?” Well, I’m glad you asked. There were a couple of dead giveaways and this is precisely why I geek out on body language science and the human behaviour behind it. Especially when it comes to introverts because I know the struggle.

    1. His posture – he didn’t take up space the way I’d assume someone of his caliber to. I’m in no way questioning his caliber (obviously, I mean, it is Sir Richard Branson afterall!) However, I could tell he was slightly uncomfortable with the interview, for whatever reason. We of the innie nature prefer not to be the center of attention and tend to fall to the “less is better” mindset, whether it’s with our body positioning or our words.
    2. His hands – they were clasped together on his lap, and even between his legs at one point. He did do some gesturing with his hands to further illustrate what he was saying, but then his hands would return to a more comfortable position for him. As introvert’s, we love, love, LOVE to share what we’re passionate about, yet hate to take up people’s time or feel we’re imposing in any way. Another key point with his hands was that he was rubbing them on his legs intermittently. This is done to calm nerves and/or anxiety and is known as self-soothing.

      Richard Branson on BT Toronto
      Richard Branson on BT Toronto
    3. His words – Although everything he said was right on point with the purpose of the interview, our body language makes up 60-93% of our communication and is 12-13 times more powerful than what we say. So a lot of what was conveyed wasn’t through his words, but even the hand on the captain’s (Wendy Williams) shoulder as he talked about her spoke volumes about his genuine fondness and respect for her. Introvert’s (and most people for that matter) communicate more fluently when not in an interview or a stress inducing interaction (which being the center of attention often is for introverts as mentioned above).
    4. His exit – CLASSIC introvert move…a unique and unusual end to a conversation. It’s one of my greatest struggles – how to end a conversation. It always feels uncomfortable because I’m never sure when the best time is to end and interaction. I laughed out loud when he walked in front of the camera, and even harder when host Roger Peterson says laughing, “I don’t think we’ve ever ended an interview this way! Check out the look on Roger’s face – it’s called a surprise microexpression lol.
    Richard Branson Interview on BT Toronto
    Richard Branson Interview on BT Toronto
    Click on either picture for the link to the video

    Why He’s My New Favourite Person

    The moment I realized that he was an introvert, my heart lept with joy. Sounds cheesy but it’s totally true.

    To see a man of his fame and fortune show the world that he’s indeed just like the rest of us makes my heart smile. He’s an inspiration to millions and which will now include a collective of introverts who dream the way he does, but didn’t believe they could accomplish what he has, until the moment they saw this interview.

    For all of my fellow innies, I raise my coffee cup to you, and in the name of Sir Richard Branson, for inspiring those of us struggling to make our way in the extroverted world we live in.