In face-to-face communication, the eyes (and eye gaze) are the most powerful part of the body we have. John McDonnell illustrated this on Sunday when he directly turned to the camera during an interview on the Andrew Marr show (BBC). The change in gaze from interviewer to viewer (and then back) provided a powerful shift from the traditional interview format to one addressing the television viewer.
McDonnell explicitly identified in his words his intentions with ‘what camera am I (on)’. The shift in eye gaze to the camera enabled him to directly connect with the viewing public thus moving from a traditional interviewer-interviewee format to addressing-the-audience format.
JM: look er we’ve got to stop this (.) xx xx we- (.) what camera am I= ((looks at studio camera)) AM: =okay= JM: =am I on this ⇗ camera (.) ((points at camera)) let me just say (.) straight up look let me just say this to labour party supporters labour members (.) .hh members of the parliamentary Labour party (.) .hh we’ve got to stop this now
McDonnell continued to address the audience as Marr attempted to wrestle the floor from him and return to the interview format.
people (.) there’s a small group out there .hh that are willing to destroy our party just to remove (.) Jeremy Corbyn we’ve got to stop them we’ve got to unite and (.) if [you want to come= AM: [right JM: =for me and Jeremy Corbyn that’s up to you but (.) don’t pick on staff who can’t defend themselves (.) in addition to [that= AM: [mm JM: =last week [save Labour AM: [okay JM: we’re taking about splitting the party (.) .hh I want Owen and [Jeremy= AM: [ca- ca- ca-
McDonnell eventually turns his gaze back to the interviewer, Marr, to signal the end to this short ‘party political broadcast’.
JM: =and everyone to say let’s stop this now= ((turns gaze toward interviewer)) AM: =hold on ca- can can I join in on this JM: well I’m I’m [sorry Andrew= AM: [can I can I join in JM: =I think this is so [serious now AM: [but but you’re suggesting
Here is a giffy of when McDonnell turns to the audience.
You can watch the exchange at the following external locations:
BBC News on YouTube (about 3:45)
BBC iPlayer ‘Andrew Marr show’ – 24th July 2016
BBC Andrew Marr show, 24th July 2016