LEADERSHIP: Body Language is the Key to Motivating Others

Kids Karate in San Antonio - Talamantez Karate

Let's face it. No one walks into a room and feels NO anxiety. Meeting new people or having to engage strangers can be nerve wracking, or at least cause some butterflies to emerge. Before you talk to someone you have to get their attention first. Here a few pointers for seasoned and developing leaders:

Watch that body language: Did you know that most of the "talking" between people is actually done by how we telegraph with our bodies? When people cross their arms over their chest it can be seen as a guarded position. People, especially public speakers, tend to keep their arms open and almost never cross them. Open means friendly. Don't know what to do with those hands (limp noodles hanging at your sides)? Here are a few tricks to cure some of that nervousness:

-Keep them gently clasped in front of you

- Move them about when speaking (keep it minimal at best, moving only to emphasize words that matter to you in the discussion)

-Have pockets? Don't shove both hands in, keep one out resting at you side while the other casually remains in your pocket

-If the situation allows, maybe gently touch the other person's forearm, or a just quick pat behind the shoulder (for some, this draws them into the conversation more)

Things to not do:

-Keep both hands in your pockets

-Fiddle with jewelry on your fingers or hands

-Clasp your hands together behind your back, or cross them completely across your chest

Now the next things are also very important: watch your posture, sit if they sit, sit how they sit, and also smile once in awhile while speaking. Slouched posture can mean you have no confidence. You want the person you are talking to feel that you know what you are about and that you are confident in speaking with them. If they sit down be sure to sit down with them (unless you are trying to prove who is charge). This makes them feel more comfortable speaking with you, especially in confined spaces. Why do we sit the way they sit? Lets say someone new sits down and crosses their legs. Try the same position and then slowly lean in and change positions as they warm up. Do they draw back? Or do they seem to relax? 

Keep that energy going and smile once in awhile to abate your own nervousness. If there is a large group, walk around a little so their eyes are forced to follow you. Then of course listen and be sure to read their body language as well. By doing so you become a better Leader, and a better people person in the long run. Just be sure to remain aware of what you might look like to others looking while speaking and adjust yourself as needed. Practice makes perfect.

-Sensei Haynes, S.



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