Monday 5 May 2014

How to Maintain Eye Contact, Like a Boss!

Maintaining eye contact can be one of the most important things in interpersonal communication. And if you are like me, you would probably realize that an inability to maintain effective eye contact with a person can be a really debilitating experience.

For that, here are some eye contact “training wheels” that would allow you to project the illusion that you are maintaining eye contact, up till the point where you are ready to begin actually looking someone in the eye. It is vital that you use this as a half-way point to get to the ultimate goal of maintaining eye contact, because being able to keep track of others’ eyes when you are talking to them gives you a lot of information allowing you to empathize better.

So here’s what to do. If maintaining a long amount of eye contact makes you nervous, look right above the person you are conversing with in the middle lower part of the other’s temple. As simple as that.
The middle of George's forehead is where you want to look.
One thing you must remember, eye contact is a very tricky subject, and when faked can really come off as weird, since you may maintain too much or too little of it. That’s why it’s really important to actually shift to naturalize how you look someone eye-to-eye. I shall release a synopsis on why and how humans maintain eye contact in social setups, so stay tuned!

Please comment and share if this was useful to you.

Saturday 19 April 2014

Body Language Does Not Lie

People often wonder how representative Non-Verbals are when it comes to understanding people. Some are people are concerned with the consistency and universality of some of the concepts of NVC. Also, some people also want to know the degree of conscious control that can be exerted on your own non-verbals, which would lead those who can interpret it to be thrown off.

I want to share an experience from one of the workshops I conducted a few weeks back that is an amazing example of the power of nonverbal communication, and its usefulness in conveying the truth in any social situation.

We were talking about status and dominance, and a participant wanted to know how he may tackle a few bullies who dominate him in certain social situations; he wanted to know how he could come off as equal status by using his non-verbals, because he was annoyed with constantly being in a subversive position with regard to certain individuals. So we decided to do a little role play, where he was to be domineering. It just so happened that taking up those large and self-assured body positions were hard for him, so much so that we had to get back to the exercise at the end of the program! When we did try it again, there was a large change, and he did manage maintaining strong eye contact with me, a huge sign of him not backing down.

What followed from that was what was what assured me that no matter what, your nonverbals can give away a lot of information that the other person may try to hide, by default in an attempt to portray something else. We spoke of this concept called mirroring (where an individual who is in agreement or looks up to you will mimic your body posture without consciously realizing it). So anyway, our participant was doing a great job taking the dominant position from me in our role play, when I decided to shoot my hands behind myself. And almost like hypnosis, so did our participant. Going to show that although he did come off as challenging my dominance, he jumped at the opportunity to follow my lead. This was a natural reaction, since I had spent the past two days with them and we had set up a good rapport.

There is another take away from this experience. If your feelings are not congruent with your nonverbals, i.e., you are trying to give radiate a certain state of mind (confidence, dominance, sadness, happiness) and you are not feeling it internally, your true feelings are soon going to betray your attempts to fake a disposition.

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Floor Them with Your Awesome Presentation: Add Body Language to Powepoint

Working professionals want to know how body language can be used effectively in presentations. Here are two easy ways to boost the delivery of your presentation and to know if you’re message is being optimally received.

1.      Be mindful of how your listeners are seated. As a rule, we move towards sounds and visuals we like, and move away or try to downplay things that we don’t. This shows in Body Language as well. Keep this in mind, while presenting, if your audience’s body is angled towards you, leaning in, and eye contact is maintained it is generally a good sign. Similarly, when someone is tuned into what you are saying, general shifty movements are to a minimum, but rise when they are not interested or in disagreement. Over time, you can learn how to fine tune your response according to the interest of your listeners, and change topic as per your convenience.

  2.      Hold open postures. Avoid folded arms, slouching and low energy movements. Holding open postures also gives the voice larger range. My dance teacher taught me a very important lesson about performance, which holds true to any form of public speaking as well: give energy to get energy.

Hope this was useful. If you have given presentations in the past I am sure you would realize that there is a lot more to giving presentations which we usually go through in our courses, but this is a great place to start. I’ve condensed lot of data here, so I am sure it would be a good revision.

Keep shining!

Monday 10 March 2014

The Secret Communication of Leaders

Non-verbal communication is about human interaction. I want to take a detour from our usual topics and talk about a higher level topic here. This is about Collaborative Communicators.

There comes a point in conversation with someone where you don’t really think about the individual aspects of their communication, and where everything they do or say is encapsulated by a larger point. I am especially interested in that brand of communication that I have seen in charismatic people and leaders who have seen a lot of success handling others. There is one form of communication that binds them all. And everything they do or say can be paraphrased in the following points:

1.      You are part of my team and I will protect you.
2.      I am on your side and want to see you succeed.
3.      I value you.  

Think back to someone who you think is an inspirational leader. How does this person’s communication leave you feeling? If that person owned a sports team, would you want to be associated with it? Would you let them take care of your kids? Do you believe they have your best interest in mind?

Now, the interesting part about this form of communicator is that they don’t do one certain thing that has this kind of effect, but it comes from a central mental attitude with regard to their beliefs and perspectives, which resonates outwards into their behavior both nonverbal and verbal. It’s some groundbreaking stuff for me, and I am excited to bring this to our coming workshops!

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Friday 28 February 2014

Get That Perfect Smile

I have a confession to make. For those who know me, they know I used to smile really awkwardly. But because I was interested in making small shifts in my interactions to create a larger positive change, I discovered a neat little trick.

For the longest time, I have come across literature and coaches who suggest the ‘perfect’ or ‘right’ way to contort your face into a smile, and I must admit that the outcome is a pleasant looking smile. But when I did what they told me to something felt off, even when I used it in social situations, I didn’t experience that spontaneous sense of connection one feels with the other when we smile together. In my opinion, that’s the most important outcome of learning non-verbal communication- to help create a sound and enriching social existence.

So on a trip to Bangalore for a seminar, I found myself with free time between work and decided to try a little social experiment. I decided that because there were so many roaming eyes in public places here, that I would take advantage of them. I decided to try to smile at everyone I made eye contact with, but with a twist.

Here’s what I did, and it worked wonders for me. As soon as I made I contact with someone, I smiled at them whilst in my head welcoming them. The key is not to say “Welcome” out loud, but to think it and really feel as if you are welcoming the other person into your consciousness. That’s it, as simple as that.

I could go on and on about what the most aesthetically pleasing and proper smile looks like and how to do it, but it won’t serve your purpose which I assume is to increase your social IQ. Instead, you can feel collaborative, and smiling, since it is a communion based act, will come as an extension of your inner state. Trust me on this one, and try it out!

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