I was told multiple times by many (if not all) of my managers that I should pay attention to my facial expressions. Apparently, people can clearly see from my face what I think of what I am being told without me saying even a word – especially when I am not overly positive about the idea it seems to be a problem… well, it has been on my list of “things to work on” forever (and truth be told, it will probably always be there). The problem is that even though I pay attention to it, I cannot change it easily, so I must keep on working on it.
What I recently started paying more attention to, though, is the body language. I started noticing how our bodies communicate what we feel and what we think without us noticing it. How we stand, how we keep our arms, what we do with our fingers when we are nervous – it all tells a lot more about how we are than we might think.
In my coaching practice, I can clearly see that words say only a tiny part of the whole story, most of it comes through the way we sit, how we move, how we play with our hair or move our feet. It makes an amazing effect when you ask a person in front of you to notice what they unconsciously do when talking about difficult things or when they tell you an exciting story. It is fascinating that when you talk about happy moments, your body opens, you straighten your back, open your arms – you do it without even noticing. On the other hand, we tend to protect ourselves with arms and body posture when we talk about sad moments. The interesting part when talking to people is to see that what they say is often contradicting what their body is showing, that’s when putting attention to what your body is saying makes a huge impact, that is where the coaching magic starts.
Giving it sometimes thought and paying attention to what YOUR body is communicating might be an eye-opening experience. Also, learning how to “read” other people can be a great tool for better communication.
A TED talk to watch on the same topic.
The title is: Your body language may shape who you are. It is a great one to watch to understand how we can make ourselves smaller or bigger using our body language and how this can shape how we are perceived and the way we feel about ourselves. Highly recommended!