All great communicators share a common skill. They have the ability to express themselves freely and connect the words and emotions through their bodies.
We come equipped with wondrous tools for expressing ourselves. Our voice, eyes, face and finally our body gives us unlimited ways to communicate. Why is it then that so many of us haven’t taken advantage of all the “equipment’’ included in this model we inhabit.
For many of us our first public speaking experience took place in grade school when we had to get up in front of the class and speak. Our young egos were put to an early test and many of us still carry that fearful first experience into adulthood. We have seen the results many times.
- We hide behind a podium and hold on to it for dear life.
- We stand in a “fig leaf”(hands crossed in front of their bodies) position, the ultimate protection stance – or we stand in the “reverse” fig leaf with our hands behind our back. These positions are yet another way of holding on – this time to our self.
- We pace back and forth.
- We manifest what I call a “split” in the way we use our bodies to communicate. For instance, if we’re saying something like, “I really loved sharing this time with you,” is your voice filled with feeling? Are the words genuinely reflected in your face and body? If not, then you have allowed a “split” to occur; an interruption has taken place between your mind, body and emotions – most likely brought on by unacknowledged tension. (We will talk more about tension in another blog.) Just imagine watching a speaker who says, “I’m so excited about being here today,” while standing in a “fig leaf “position, holding on and hiding out. How about a speaker who uses the stage pretty well, seems to know how to stand with his hands at his sides comfortably, gestures with his arms and hands, but has very little emotion in his voice or animation in his face? The “split” is what happens when the message and the delivery aren’t in alignment.
It makes no difference what kinds of communicating you’re doing – business communication or personal. The fundamental link up must be present to succeed as a public speaker. If you are expressing how excited you are to be here today, then that excitement must impact your audience. Send the message through your eyes, animate your face and let your body pull it all together with a strong gesture.
YOUR BODY CAN’T HIDE; THE TRUTH WILL OUT
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