Congruent Body Language with Your Communication Creates More Success!
Did you know that when you are communicating your words and tone of voice are not the only thing that is being interpreted and given meaning. 55% of all one-on-one communication is being given through your physiology or body language.
I remember an incident when I was at one of my training sessions and was having to critique one of my colleagues. She was from Germany spoke excellent English and was a very good looking women and I mention this because of what her body language was saying.
She was talking on a very interesting and serious topic so her words reflected that and her tone and volume of voice was good, however her physiology and body language were saying different things. As she was talking and walking back and forth upon the stage she would take her glasses off slowly, pause and then gently tuck them into her blouse just between her cleavage and although she didn’t mean to be suggestive after about the third time of her doing this, I thought the male participants were paying more attention to other things and little attention to her words. When I spoke to her afterwards she had no idea the affect her body language was having on the audience, in fact she didn’t even realize she was doing that with her glasses as it was a habit she had developed so she didn’t lose her glasses. After a discussion with the male participants in the group who admitted that they found the glasses quite fascinating and sensual and did have a hard time hearing her words because of it, she realized she needed to change her physiology and body language to be more professional. This was a great example of how we may be so focused on what we are saying that we are not paying attention to what we are doing.
Another time I was watching a women give a talk and she was very earnest and had really good points however her body language was one of pleading with the audience. Her message was good but it lost it’s power because of her pleading stance.
So first it is important to know what it is you do. Second it is about learning how to use your body language in communication to be taken seriously when you want that, to create humour or flare, when you want that etc. in other words to use the language of the body to enhance your communication or presentation instead of giving messages you are not wanting it to give!
One of the ways to learn this is through the Satir Model, which was developed by Virginia Satir who is considered the mother of family therapy. She recognized different stances that people would constantly move through when they were under stress. Utilizing her five stances in positive ways allows the person to create the desired effect they want verses the unconscious effect they may not even know they are having.
The five stances are: The Blamer, The Placater, The Computer, The Distractor and The Leveler. Used appropriately these can really add to your presentation and used inappropriately they can really take away from your presentation.
The Blamer points at the audience with a finger or a whole hand palm down. This can be confronting or have a person feel singled out. Can be affect for certain things if used sparingly.
The Placater usually has palms up toward the audience and often has a slight lean as well. This can be seen as pleading but used effectively can be good.
The Computer usually stands straight up with their arms crossed and doesn’t move much. This can be boring and again used purposively can be effective.
The Distractor is when your body is not symmetrical. This can be very distracting and can also used appropriately give the presentation some pizzazz.
The Leveler is a relaxed balanced pose and great for when you want to be taken seriously.
So you may want to have someone watch your next presentation with your body language in mind and find out what your body language is saying! As a presentation Coach I work with individuals and groups in assisting them to improve the congruence of the message they are sending out and to have more success.
Hoped you enjoyed this post! If you have any feedback or questions please feel free to e-mail me, thanks!