Did you know that BODY LANGUAGE is responsible for over half of your communication?

Whether consciously or unconsciously, other people are constantly picking up on the nonverbal cues you signal through gestures, facial expressions, and posture.

Dr. Andrea Wojnicki, Talk About Talk

I was motivated to create the 3-point body language scan for two reasons.

The first is that I was getting a lot of questions from coaching clients about how to stand, where to look, and what to do with their hands. The second is being conscious of my own body language, both onstage in front of an audience, and alone in front of my computer.

Have you considered what your body language is communicating to others (and to yourself)? 

3 things to Talk About this week:

1. The Brain Believes the Body
2. The 3-Point Body Language Scan
3. Tips for Online Meetings


1️⃣ The Brain Believes the Body

Improving your communication with others is a great reason to focus on your body language, but it’s not the only reason. It turns out that our body language also influences our communication with ourselves.

Your body language is implicitly communicating with your brain all the time, and the brain believes what it’s told by the body. Let me give you three examples of this: breathing, smiling, and power posing.

man with red cape, posing like a superhero; image by Africa images via Canva

#1 Breathing – Consider the calming effect of taking deep, slow breaths when you’re feeling anxious or upset. When we exhale slowly, our brains think, “Everything must be ok!”

#2 Smiling – Try this now! Grin to yourself. Do you feel the slightest bit of happiness when you do this? Smiling signals that everything is ok, and once again, your brain believes what your body is saying.

#3 Power Posing – For those who haven’t seen Amy Cuddy’s viral TED Talk, power posing refers to standing tall, with our hands on our hips. It’s an expansive posture that our brains connect with confidence. So the next time you need a confidence boost, go ahead and strike your best superhero pose! (Cape optional.)


2️⃣ The 3-Point Body Language Scan

Have you ever become hyperaware of your body? It could be while you’re giving a presentation or while you’re sitting at your desk, when you suddenly sense that your body needs a reset.

This is when you should stop and do the 3-point BODY LANGUAGE SCAN.

"Language is a more recent technology. Your body language, your eyes, your energy will come through to your audience before you even start speaking." – Peter Guber, film producer & professor

#1 Posture 

  • Stand or sit up straight
  • Be expansive with an open chest and shoulders slightly back.
  • Keep your arms and legs uncrossed.

#2 Hands

  • We unconsciously trust people more when we can see their hands, so keep yours in view.
  • Rest your hands on the table, loosely clasped.
  • When gesturing, use slow, purposeful movements. No flailing!

#3 Eyes

  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Smile with your whole face, including your eyes.
  • Be aware of what your eyebrows are doing!

3️⃣ Tips for Online Meetings

Do you ever feel self-conscious about your body language during online meetings? The good news is that the basic elements of the 3-point body language scan still apply – with a few adaptations.

woman sitting at her desk during a virtual meeting; image by Andrey Popov via Canva

Here are a few suggestions to help you optimize your body language during online meetings:
  • Follow the 90-90-90 rule for posture. Sit with your back at a 90 degree angle, then 90 degrees across from your hips to knees, then 90 degrees down to your feet, which should be flat on the floor. (Try it now.  Just do it!)
  • When gesturing, keep your hands within the frame. (Otherwise I dont’ know whether you’re giving me the thumbs up, the peace sign, or…?!)
  • Log into the meeting early and look at yourself on screen to get a sense of the boundaries of your frame. (Go on – be a keener!)
  • To maintain eye contact, look at the green light next to your camera when speaking. (Especially when you’re making our most important points!)
  • Let the others know in advance if you plan to jot things down or read from your notes during the meeting. This way, they’ll know that you breaking eye contact isn’t a sign of disrespect or distractedness. (They’ll also see how diligent you are!)

There you go – 3 things to Talk About this week:
1️⃣ The Brain Believes the Body
2️⃣ The 3-Point Body Language Scan
3️⃣ Tips for Online Meetings

Please try the 3-point body language scan! You can learn more by listening to this week’s podcast episode.

Talk soon,

 

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