We hear a lot about body language at the moment. With our third post we even study a speech specifically on body language. I always think about body language as several elements: first, our own body language, our own way of moving; then the body language of people around us with which we will unconsciously react to; then the consciously chosen body language we decide to adopt to make a point, or illustrate a comment; and last the cultural body language we adopt often by observation, or out of unknown habits.
The same way we cannot not communicate, we cannot not use body language.
Sales & marketing studies have shown that even at the phone, people will have a feel for your body language. This is logical: your stance has an impact on how you will be able to use your vocal chords, and therefore your voice. Thanks to the research from Amy Cuddy and her team, we now know that whatever you say, the impression you project have more value. This impression is linked to your non verbal communication, and among them your body language.
Unless you play with body language and test how far you can go, you may never really use it to support your public communication, either be a presentation in meeting or a speech on stage.
Have fun then!
1 – Exercise ONE: to be done on a daily basis: observe how you stand or sit, and purposely change your position. For instance, you tend to sit your legs crossed, for a while then, sit with your legs side by side; or you tend to stand more on one foot than the other, for a while stand balanced on your two feet, or on the other foot; you tend to check your mobile phone with rounded shoulders, for a while open your chest and put your mobile up in front of you when using it. The idea is simple 1) observe how you use your body 2) experiment using it in another possible way; and of course this should be done without any pain or tension in your body.
2 – Exercise TWO: to be done on ad-hoc basis when needed: first think about 2 minutes of speech or conversation you could be using. Then organise yourself in a room “as if” you were going to speak in front of others; do really take a moment to visualise the “as if”. Start your 2 minutes of conversation out-loud and as you do so, bring a lot of diversity in your body language. For instance, make yourself small to start, then go down even smaller, then go the opposite and make yourself huge, jump, walk slowly, one feet every 4 or 5 words, or walk very fast on the spot, etc. At the same time develop an awareness of your reactions. How do you feel? Which body stand works best? Which one do you hate? If you have a bunch of friends, try this second exercise with a mini and friendly audience. It will boost your self-confidence, and this whatever the type of “public speaker” you are, either the “on stage” one or the “in meeting” one.
Both exercises are here to stretch us outside of our comfort zone. They are beneficial when you play the game of “going to an extreme”. It may actually feel extreme and way-off balance for you while it may appear very subtle for another person.
Let me know how it goes, either using the contact page or in the comments section below?
Tomorrow is our Sunday post, and with it some really cool exercises on an incredible tool… our voice. See you tomorrow.