Body Language and Emotions: Explore Your Range
This blog post may, at first glance, seem drab and elementary. But stay right there, buckaroo, and let me first explain why this post might be more helpful than you think.
You are a conformist.
I don’t care what political beliefs you have, what odd clothing you might wear, or what strange hobbies you might have, you still conform to what is appropriate with your body language on a daily basis.
You sit straight in your chair in meetings. You shake hands with people. You gesture to illustrate your points. You walk upright at a normal pace.
See. You look like everyone else.
I don’t say this to pop your bubble of individuality. You have many unique qualities and quirks that differentiate you from everyone else. But more often than not, you are still obeying the socially accepted parameters of body language.
Until you take a seat like “Mork,” I’m sticking by my theory.
We get stuck in our patterns of being appropriate. Therefore, we need to be reminded of the range that is available to us in our bodies. This is especially important for anyone who gives presentations.
When you are on stage in front of a group, you need to be a slightly bigger version than your daily-life-self. Your voice and energy level need to reach the back of the room. Therefore, your body language needs to be more expressive so that you can keep the attention of your audience.
If you keep the same silhouette (shape), standing in one place with gesture that hinge at your elbows and come back to center, their eyes get bored. You aren’t interesting to watch.
HINT: If they look at the PowerPoint slides more than they look at you, Danger Will Robinson.
To get out of your body language box, you need to know what is actually available to you. You have subconsciously been limited, so let’s get your consciously free – body langugage-wise, I mean. I can’t work any existential miracles here.
- Head and neck
These are the major sections of the body that body language experts look at. Each section have more than one movement. There’s twisting, tilting, expanding, contracting, raising, and lowering.
So, now it’s time to play!
A great practice for anyone who speaks (or just plain ol’ anyone, if you ask me), is to stand in front of a mirror, choose one of the above sections, and explore its full range. Notice the different emotions that each movement can convey. Notice how each movement makes you feel. The biofeedback can be a pretty cool thing to experience. By just changing how you use your body, you will start to feel an emotional response.
AND… drumroll please… if you changing your body movement creates an emotional response within you, then you are better connected to your speech, which mean that your audience will connect to you and your content emotionally as well! (That’s the beauty of mirror neurons, which I’ll write about in an upcoming post.)
Did I blow your mind?! Come on. That’s pretty freakin’ cool.
So, why wait? Even if you are sitting at your desk reading this, you can still do the exercise. Choose the head or shoulders. See all the different ways they can move. Some might feel weird; that just means it’s a movement you don’t use regularly, but it still could serve you at some point in the future.