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Seb Anthony

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Body Language


I have to deliver a workshop on interpretating and using body language effectively.

Difficult client group as a lot have been in retail for many years and in the main are not used to training.

I want to include aspects such as by using positive body language it can improve confidence. How by using the right body language in difficult situations can help influence the outcome.

Any ideas on the best way to get people involved in this without the dreaded role play which would not go down well.
Pamela Harrison

8 Responses

  1. Demonstrate yourself
    Try demonstrating yourself first and keep it very light hearted. Be extreme with your body language and get them to guess your mood. You will probably find they want to give you good examples themselves once they see it can be fun.

    The best thing is not to get too serious otherwise they will clam up and you will be left as the floor show and not getting the best from them.

  2. Tricky
    Without using roleplays of any type, and this is very much a practical subject, you could perhaps workshop both negative and positive NVC (Non-Verbal Communication) and the impact of each.

    Then using presentations from the participants, assigning each group a negative/positive approach, map the behaviours of each groups presentation to their body language and see if it matches their viewpoint (positive/negative) from feedback of the other groups.

    Hope this helps/makes sense

  3. NVC
    I have recently had to produce a presentation on NVC for my CTP course and found a book called ‘ Body Language’ by Allan pease to be extremly helpful.

    The basics of body language can be broken down in 9 different sections:
    Eye Contact
    Facial Expressions

    I found an excellent exercise but was unable to use it as the presentation was formal but it was to show a video clip with the sound off and let the participants note down the body language of each individual. If you would like any further advice please feel free to contact me.

  4. non verbal comms rather than body language…
    Do you know the PEOPLE mnemonic?
    It covers NVC rather than just body language, I’ve used it for years and always found it goes down a treat

  5. Suggestions for Body Language actvities
    You could create a card game with ‘poses’ on it and ask them to interpret them.
    Pictures from magazines are always good to generate discussion.
    There are some good videos by Alan Pease on the topic.
    Mr Bean is a good advocate of the use of body language to communicate!

  6. Charades
    It doesn’t need to be roleplay we handed out a bunch of cards with emotions written on them, shuffled them and dealt two to each member of the group and asked them to act the emotion out without speaking.

    Small prizes of sweets and things helped them through the embarassment factor and after a couple of goes everyone is laughing and getting into it.

    It’s fun and gets the point across without pressure on the participants.

  7. Interpreting Body Language
    I have shown a selection of pictures and asked the participants to give their opinions as to what the body language of the person or people in the photograph is saying to them. You can expand on their answers by asking them why they have interpreted the body language in this way and challenge them as to whether it could be percieived as something different – useful to show that we don’t always read body language accurately and to be aware that we can get it wrong. If you are using this on a global scale be aware of how culture plays a large part in body language and the interpretations.

  8. Culture
    I’ve been running NLP courses for the past 9 years, which has a huge element of ‘learning how to understand other people’s body language’. I think that the biggest area to remain aware of is the difference between genders, cultures and generations. Being prescriptive – x universally means y – is totally counterproductive. Folded arms, for example tends to be interpretted in many of the books as being a sign of defensiveness. It could mean that the person is cold, has no-where to put their arms, has a disability or has even spilled coffee on their chest and feel embarassed. The danger with the universal application is that you will then approach the other person expecting them to be defensive (i.e. on the offensive) and get the result you’re expecting!


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