The Power of Body Language - A Comparative Study of the Body Language of the World’s Top Leaders and Indian PM Narendra Modi

Several decades ago Albert Mehrabian coined the 7-38-55 rule of communication, whereby in any face to face communication, words used have a mere 7% weight.

38% of the message is understood from how those words were said and even greater, 55% of the message is understood from the facial expressions of the speaker while saying those words.

In short, the visual impact that the speaker can generate is far more potent and efficient than any words in the dictionary.



Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to be using the same formula to showcase a new face of India to the world.

In his (much discussed) trips abroad, besides his other agenda, he has ensured that his impeccable ‘style with substance’ resonates an image of India that is rich, vibrant, prosperous, confident and ready to take on the world. And the results have been noteworthy.


He has forged new friendships, created a buzz, ensuring India gets recognized for all its worth. Indians now have a no visa treaty with lot more countries; also India is now a strong contender for a permanent seat in UN Security Council with a lot more countries on our side.

He has a modus operandi, and he is creating the right ripples with his signature appearance (albeit there have been times his designer took it too literally).

Perception of India has changed globally in these years under his tenure compared to what we were able to achieve in all the past 67 years since independence. The tiny steps to progress are now gaining speed from a trot to a gallop and hopefully a full throttle shortly.

August Image, a leading Image Management consultancy in Mumbai has put together a study of the visual impact of Mr. Narendra Modi’s dressing style and his body language regarding his predecessor, Dr. Manmohan Singh, a man with very impressive credentials, yet who came across as a weak leader.

They are two different people, coming from different economic and educational background, having a very different style of leadership, yet both occupied the seat of the Premier of India.

The objective of the study is to gauge how far the visual portrayal of a person can impact the credibility and the trust he can generate in others.

Let’s take a look:

His ever-confident stride and expanded body give an impression of fearlessness. The visual impact it generates seems to suggest that he is bold and brave to handle any crisis that comes his way. No other Indian head of state before him has had so much of machoism on display!


He expands his body, creating a larger than life impact on the onlooker. It reflects his credibility, confidence and keeps the viewer in awe of him. And in his image resonates India’s image!

This physical proximity says a lot more than mere words. This is the closest they have ever been to the USA, A move that has changed the international dynamics of India’s relationships with rest of the world.


We may seem close here as well but look carefully; Obama has his hand on Dr. Manmohan Singh’s shoulder, a sign that he can control India.

When premieres of two countries shake hands, there’s lot to be studied in that whole act. This is a glove handshake indeed, suggesting closeness in Mr. Singh’s and Obama’s relationship. Their mutual respect for each other was a topic of discussion during Mr. Singh’s tenure but look closely at the hands. Who has the upper hand?

The two-handed handshake here again, but this time India’s prime minister has the upper hand!

Dr. Singh failed to learn the politics of handshake. It’s an unsaid rule; the person on the left of the picture has an advantage of keeping his hand up. All the leaders scramble to take their positions just before the shoot, so that right messages go out from the pictures. Dr. Singh almost always allowed the others to have the upper hand on him.

Mr. Modi has taught himself the tactics of body language, and he uses them with aplomb to show other heads of state their true place!

In this picture, he is a step ahead, and his hand is on top. In body language analysis this is to read as he will dominate the show no matter what pesky tactics the neighbors adopt.

He learnt the handshake trick quickly and knows with whom to practice.

No Indian leader has ever been able to strike such bonhomie. This man has absolutely no inhibitions. The unabashed glee on his face shows how comfortable he is with the US President; many other heads of states would vie to be in his shoes.

A perfect statesman – he has a vision and the ability to build the consensus to achieve that vision.

President Obama was the first American leader to be the chief guest at India’s Grand Republic Day celebrations, an honor that underscored the growing warmth between the two countries. Getting Mr. Obama to India for our Republic day sent quite a few messages to all our neighbors including China. Mr. Modi has a strategy and he’s abiding by it very strategically.

Mr. Singh was a simple, humble economist seated at the Prime Minister’s chair. He could not get himself to exude the authority the chair demanded. In his simplicity he bowed down to others. In the study of body language, bowing down to others makes you look weaker.

He allowed others to lead him, once again making him look weaker.

In contrast, Mr. Modi knows how to stand tall. No one can cower him down.

Mr. Modi is a self-taught man. He has imbibed learnings from great leaders in his life. It seems he has also taught himself the science of body language as is clear from the two pictures featured here.

He has grown wiser as he grew in the ranks. The downward facing palm in his earlier pictures has now become inwards. There is a contrasting difference in these two gestures. The downward palm shows dominance, whereas the inward facing palm suggests inclusiveness.

Therefore, in his speeches when he vocally assured the people of India that he will take them along in the journey of India’s progress, we believed him. He has learnt to match his words with a synchronous body language. There’s no dichotomy in his words and actions lending veracity to his words.

A poll analysis showed that more women voted for BJP. An interesting study in body language shows that women are more accurate judges of body language and Modi has their vote!


He now uses this gesture in his speeches, a circle made with index finger and thumb. This gesture helps one to be perceived as thoughtful, goal oriented and focused. These are the very traits one looks for in a good leader. Mr. Modi is making all the right moves!

Now a look at his dressing style. His dressing sense is vibrant. There’s always something new and fresh to look up to. It’s a rich look. That is the message of the new India he gives to the world, to the old and new allies.

The vibrancy and the richness of colors and textures in Modi jackets symbolize affluence. His wardrobe is unpredictable; He always adds a zing to his outfit, a touch of youthfulness and creates a point of emphasis, making it look grandiose.

His color choice is impeccable. He chooses pastels to match with his white facial hair and then he creates a dramatic impact by contrasting it with the bright accents of his “Modi Jacket”.

Dr Singh in contrast had a very predictable wardrobe. A black or dark blue bandhgala with light blue turban became his trademark look. It could not generate any interest in the onlooker and never became a topic of discussion.

Mr. Modi is surely working towards bringing India to center stage. His personal image has also become a tool for the purpose and thus has been carefully crafted to send the right messages in the international arena.

A picture speaks more than a thousand words. These pictures clearly reflect a story of two different personalities with two different leadership styles. The study also shows the power of projecting the right image and how it can be used to get the desired effect.

Managing one’s image is a nuanced art backed by scientific studies. One can curate a strengthened image to achieve success in all walks of life.

The pictures have been compiled by Savieta Batra, an internationally certified Personal Brand Consultant, based in Mumbai.

This article was originally published in the huffingtonpost.

Jewellery -The Ultimate Accessory

Solah Sringar

“Jewellery has the power to be this one little thing that can make you feel unique.”
~~ Anonymous

The statement rightly justifies a woman’s fascination with her jewellery and possibly helps us overcome our guilt for wanting more.

While modern life style may associate jewellery as a means to flaunt wealth and uphold the status in society, jewellery for  a woman has a significance above and beyond all this. It is not just a way of adornment but serves a greater purpose than that. Don’t believe me! Read on to find out.

You would have heard of the term ‘Solah Shringaar’, literally translated it means sixteen ways of beautification for a woman; there being a scientific relevance to the number sixteen. Hindu mythology establishes a coherent relation between lunar and menstrual cycle and believes that sixteen phases of moon have a negative effect on the woman’s menstrual cycle. Therefore, as per the tradition, 16 adornments are considered to correspond to the 16 phases of moon and are donned to nullify its negative effects. The word Shringar incorporates ‘Shri’ in it, which is the other name of ‘Laxmi’, the goddess of wealth, luck and beauty. Hence, woman is considered to be the Laxmi of the house, harbinger of good fortune. It is also believed that women have to don gold ornaments above the navel only as gold is very dear to Lord Vishnu, the benefactor of the Universe.

The science of acupuncture also holds the above belief true! The science believes that the body is divided into two opposing forces Yin and Yang, yin denoting feminine energy concentrated in lower half of the body and yang denoting masculine energy concentrated on the upper half of the body. Therefore gold being a more yang metal is worn on the upper body and silver being more yin is worn n the lower part of the body.

In our series Jewellery-The Ultimate Accessory, we shall discuss each of these 16 essential items of adornment and their aesthetic, physiological and traditional significance.

Let’s begin with Maang Tika.  

Traditionally, this is the first ornament that needs to be worn as it provides protection to the ‘sindoor’ that is first applied to the bride by her husband during the wedding ceremony.

Physiologically, a maang tika is so designed that it hangs over the ajna chakra, the home of the body’s mind and intellect. It directly relates to one’s ability to control emotions and the power of concentration.

Aesthetically, it is the prime accessory for the brides as it lends to her an ornate and glamorous look that sets her apart from the rest.  It can, however, be worn by women of all ages for any elaborate occasion that requires splendour and touch of regal exquisiteness. A maang tika on a woman’s forehead gives her an alluring look and ensures she is the cynosure of all eyes. The archaic and vintage appeal of this accessory has made it extremely popular, not only in India but even across Indian borders.

Having understood the Why of the maangtika, now let us explain to you the How of it.

To ensure that one looks resplendent in their jewellery it is essential to wear ornaments as per the face shape. Given below is the description of maang tika designs to choose as per the face shape.

Oblong Face: Oblong faces appear long and narrow , hence a broad and elaborate maang tika can create the width to counter the length.

Round Face: Round faces lack length, hence requires a maang tika that enhances the length of the face. It needs to be thin and less detailed.

Square Face: Square faces have a strong brow bone, cheekbones and jaw bone structure. Pakeezah style maang tika worn by parting the hair on the side creates an asymmetrical look and softens the jaw line.

Rectangle Face: A rectangular face tends to have higher cheekbones and a higher forehead. The face appears to be longer than it is wide. The ideal maang tika for this type of face should cover the forehead a bit, as to make the face look more oval.

Inverted Triangle Face: This face shape has wider forehead and tapering chin. The maang tika has to be slightly broader to cover a part of the broad forehead

Diamond Face: The face is wider at the cheekbones and narrower at the forehead and chin. A wide and detailed maang tika can take the attention away from cheek bones and create the illusion of wider forehead.

Oval Face: Oval face is symmetrical and is considered to be the perfect shape. It is the most  versatile and proportionate of all shapes. Any style of maang tika that cover up the ravishingly beautiful face shape.

Travel Etiquette: Good Manners Go the Mile

The Millennial Indian is on the go! Statistics show that international travel by Indians increased by upto 45% in the year 2016. We’re out there, everywhere and how! There’s also another good news to rave about. We Indians now have an enhanced global image, all thanks to P.M. Narendra Modi’s impressive sojourns to several countries. As citizens, it now becomes our duty to uphold the ‘Image of An Indian’ where ever we are travelling, in or out of the country; goodness is appreciated everywhere.

Proper etiquette practiced while travelling will help us leave a positive mark on everyone we meet, anywhere we go.

Travel with Élan. Is a series on travel etiquette to keep your sophistication on a high.

Travelling by Plane

Decorum in the Boarding Area
At some airports space at the boarding gates is really cramped. If such is the case, one should be polite enough not to block any seats unnecessarily, by placing luggage or items like newspapers. If there’s no place at your boarding area and there is still time for the boarding to begin, look for seating space at another boarding gate nearby.

If you’re travelling in a group, please ensure that the volume during conversations with fellow team members is kept low. No one else is interested in listening to your conversations.

If you’re eating something, please ensure that there are no spills on the chair or on the floor and do remember to trash the empty boxes or bottles in the garbage bins.

Board As Per Your Zone

Nowadays the airline ticket mentions a Zone Number for the purpose of sequential boarding, to avoid chaos inside the aircraft. They allow premiere class ticket holders to board first, followed by women with infants and children and then senior citizens get a priority. After that they start boarding as per the specified zones. Please ensure that you get into the boarding queue only when your zone is called out for.

Use the Space Under the Seat in Front of You

‘Will I get a place to put in my bag in the overhead cabin?’ is the thought that worries every traveller. Many a times I’ve seen the crewmembers adjusting the luggage pieces in the overhead bins to accommodate some more.

Instead of crowding the overhead compartments with small sized bags, one can easily slide them under the seat and leave the overhead bins for bigger carry on bags.

Check Before You Recline

This happens all the time. Many people have the habit of reclining their seats the minute they are seated with blatant disregard to who’s behind.  The passenger behind could be travelling with a baby. Yes, you have the right to recline your seat, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could look behind before you do it?  A courtesy intimation before you do it will only earn you a warm smile and respect.

Follow the Crew Instructions

There are certain rules to be adhered to while travelling by plane. The seats have to be in upright position, the window shades have to be lifted up, and no electronic equipment is to be switched on while taking off and landing. Make sure you respect these rules as they are there for a purpose.

Let People in Front of You Off the Plane First

It is amusing to hear the collective metallic click of the seatbelts as soon as the plane lands. At times the crew has to intervene to ask the passengers to remain seated until the plane comes to complete halt. We all are educated and civilized enough to realize that everyone’s safety is paramount. There are no prizes for coming first here. Everyone has to disembark. Wait till the plane pulls up to the gate and allow people in the rows in front of you to walk up to the exit first.

Middle Seats Get the Armrest

It is the seat least sought out and the unlucky traveller who’s stuck in there surely deserves a respite by getting to use both armrests. Those at the window or the aisle, can surely survive with the one armrest that’s dedicated to you.

The Craft of Layering with Confidence

For those of us who love to create a new look with our clothes each day, layering the clothes is a wonderful technique to master. It gives its wearer a distinctive edge, a unique signature style and brings in a lot of versatility and excitement in our everyday dressing, along with its many other benefits.

Sweater, coat, jacket, cape, T shirts Shirt/blouse, shirt-jac, scarves, vest, jewellery, belts can all be used to layer and create exciting new combinations.

Layering is the key to get maximum wearability from your clothes. It’s a strategy when mastered to perfection can create for you an image that is Appropriate, Attractive, Authentic and Affordable too!

It gives you protection

On days when sweater would feel too warm and a shirt is not just good enough, layering a t-shirt with a shirt and then a scarf will provide enough warmth as the air trapped between the clothes retains your body temperature.

It makes you look slim

The additional layer of clothing helps camouflage body bulges or figure variations you don’t want the whole world to focus on. 

It makes you look authoritative

Layering is ideal for leadership and professional occasions such as when conducting a meeting, making a presentation, or when going for a job interview. It gives you enhanced visual authority, because of which you are noticed immediately, you are able to hold attention longer, and will also remain more memorable in the mind of the viewer.

Make it your personal style – Layering allows you to express yourself through the medium of lines, shapes, colours, textures and patterns in your outfit. It lets your clothes speak for you! Get creative with different combinations of clothing pieces  and ways to wear them to create your own signature style. 

Layering works effectively with Indian garments too.

How to Redesign Your Lips With These Easy Makeup Tricks

Getting that perfect lipstick on the face is every woman’s desire. Makeup application is a skill that needs to be perfected. The following tips can help you master that skill to perfection.

Exfoliate your lips

Removing the dead skin from the lips makes them smoother and softer.You can use a toothbrush or a clean mascara wand for the same. You can also make a lip scrub with one part oil and one part sugar.

Moisturize your lips

Choose a waxy, non-oily lip balm to moisturize the lips at least ten minutes before you apply lipstick. This keeps your lips nourished and helps to apply the lipstick evenly.
Apply a clear makeup primer around the perimeter of your mouth before you put on your lipstick to keep it from feathering.


Use a lip liner, as it gives the lipstick a base and makes it last longer. The lipliner has to be a shade darker than your lipstick. Apply and then soften your it with your clean fingertip so that it doesn’t look too harsh.

Perfect your cupids bow by drawing an X on the center of your upper lip. Then fully line and fill in the rest of your lips. This way, when the lipstick starts to wear off, it will do so evenly, without leaving the tell-tale ring of lip liner around your mouth.

If you lips are thin and you want them to appear larger, this is one makeup hack that you should master. Apply one shade of lipstick over your entire mouth and then a shade in the same colour family that’s a lot lighter in the center (you can even use concealer if you really want a major effect)

To give your lips a crisp outline and make your lipstick pop up, outline your lips with a concealer that matches your skin tone. This will also prevent your lipstick from smearing

To make your lipstick last longer blot it with a tissue paper. Doing so removes excess oils from on your lips from the first application, so that the second one grips it better and doesn’t travel off of your lips as quickly.

If you would like to reshape your lips, you need to first cover them with  a concealer and then trace a new lip line  just slightly outside your natural lip line with a lip liner pencil, making them appear more symmetric and  larger.