Body Talk

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May 19, 2013

The safety committee has come together to discuss last month’s accident report. Susan sits at the table, arms crossed and biting her lower lip, Robert is twirling his pen between his fingers and leaning back in his chair, Jessica is leaning forward, elbows on the table, Steven stares down at his lap with smart phone in hand and Michelle holds her face leaning on her hand. Joe reads through the incident report and asks for feedback or questions. He gets no verbal response, but if our bodies could talk the message would be loud and clear … Concern, boredom, interest, pre-occupation and perhaps just plain old exhaustion? Body language is a form of human non-verbal communication, which consists of body posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye movements. Humans send and interpret such signals almost entirely subconsciously. Reading body language is something we do innately or perhaps it is something we learn through our experiences. But have you ever thought about the messages you are sending. Our body language can have a tremendous impact on our relationships in the workplace … it can intimidate, irritate, or even repel others. It can also invite, inspire or motivate. What kind of messages are you putting out there? Is you stance and posture approachable … or are you sending a more negative message like “don’t bother me, I’m busy”. As a leadership coach I work with many people who have good intentions, but their communications with staff and peers come across as rough and abrupt. The 1st step to improving these types or perceptions is by increasing our own awareness of the body language we are emitting. Here are a couple of suggestions to improve your self-awareness: Take a day to notice other people’s body language. Write down your observations on a small pad of paper as you see them. Think about your body language and your physical positioning throughout the day in various situations. Make conscious observations and keep a log of what you notice. Video tape yourself & others. With all the smartphones, webcams and iPads at our disposal, it’s easy to make a short tape to replay and observe. Ask a trusted peer to share feedback on their observations of your body language From you observations identify your hot spot areas where you could improve. Begin to take notice and take action! Modifying our body language is a process that takes time. Like anything the way you come across with others will improve with practice and focus. Working with a coach or a peer-partner can be helpful for staying on track. If you need help smoothing out your Body Talk call Goldin Leadership Group at 949-387-3436 or email: