Body Talk

Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D
  • .: Welcome to Body Talk :.

    Body language is the management of time, space, appearance, posture, gesture, vocal prosody, touch, smell, facial expression, and eye contact. Based on the latest research in neuroscience and psychology we can now prove that body language is crucial to leadership effectiveness in negotiating, managing change, building trust, projecting charisma, and promoting collaboration. To be on Carol's mailing list for free monthly articles on change, leadership, collaboration and body language at work, click here
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    Bullies in the Workplace

    Posted By on April 7, 2014

    I met Brenda when she managed a 2,000-person department for a Fortune 500 company. Brought in to help her with an upcoming change initiative, I was impressed by Brenda’s intelligence, creativity, political savvy, and dedication to her job. She had all the qualities of a senior executive – which was her career goal.

    But she was also a bully. One direct report described her as a “kiss-up and slap-down kind of manager.” The targets of the bullying were especially demoralized, but even those on her staff who only witnessed the bad behavior began to devote more energy to protecting themselves than they did to helping the company. Brenda’s dysfunctional management style eventually led to a decline in her department’s performance and, as a result, the change initiative was abandoned. Eventually Brenda’s career was derailed by the increasing number of enemies she made with every nasty glare and mean-spirited remark. She resigned when it became obvious that she would never get the promotion she coveted.

    Stories about bullies don’t always end with them resigning in disgrace. In fact, many bullies thrive. You may even be working for one.

    By definition, workplace bullying is the repeated, health-harming mistreatment of an employee in the form of verbal abuse or behaviors that are threatening, intimidating, or humiliating. Bullies at work practice psychological violence. They yell, insult, throw tantrums, steal credit, spread rumors, withhold crucial information, and/or socially isolate their targets by excluding them. The body language of bullies includes staring, glaring, or totally ignoring the target when he/she speaks. Bullies often engage in aggressive finger pointing, invade personal space and use touch as a measure of control (a bone-crushing handshake) or a means to patronize (a pat on the head).

    • According to a 2010 Workplace Bullying Institute Survey, 13.7 million adults reported being bullied at work.
    • Bullies are typically bosses. In fact, 72% of bullies outrank their “targets.”
    • Bullying is not illegal unless the target is a member of a status-protected group (due to gender, race, age, etc.) and the bully is not a member.
    • The financial damage bullies do to their organizations is often undetected, but can be seen in the cost of increased turnover and absenteeism and in decreased employee engagement and collaboration.

    Some bullies are put into leadership positions because they appear to be smart, ambitious, results-oriented and “take-charge.” All of which may be true (as in Brenda’s case), but in addition to those more positive characteristics, most bullies lack empathy. They seem immune to the suffering of others.

    Dr. A.R. Mohammad, an addiction expert and adjunct professor of addiction medicine at the University of Southern California, offers this perspective:
    “Addicts have some inherent characteristics. They have an inflated self-esteem and a false sense of entitlement. These characteristics may lead to bullying.
    Furthermore, occupation is one of the environmental risk factors of addiction. People who have high-pressured jobs, are under a lot of stress, and have easy access to drugs and alcohol are more prone to develop addiction. Bullying would be another way to cope with that stress.”

    So how can you tell if you’re working for a bully or just a tough boss?

    One way is to realize that tough bosses treat people equitably. They may be hard on everyone, especially during a crunch time, but they tend to ease up when the crisis is over. Bullies target only a few, and their bullying is relentless.

    Another way to gauge whether or not you are being bullied is by monitoring your mental and physical reactions. Targets of constant bullying often become physically ill. Especially prevalent are cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases, and a common first sign is hypertension. Targets also suffer emotional distress, including self-doubt, plummeting self-esteem, and depression.

    Worn down mentally and physically, it’s no wonder that when it comes to dealing with bullies in the workplace, a lot of targets don’t even try. They simply quit their jobs.

    If you are being bullied at work, here are few tips:

    1. Realize you are being bullied and it’s not about you and your work. It’s about dominance and control.
    2. Take a stand from the beginning. (This is the most vital tip as targets suffer added pain and shame from not standing up to the bully in the first place.)
    3. Stay professional. Speak calmly and confidently, and make your position clear.
    3. Document and confide in others you trust.
    4. Report it to Human Resources if the bullying continues.

    BTW: I’m the co-author of Every Body’s Talking a new book on body language for children in grades 4-8. The book is filled with tips for projecting self-confidence and for understanding and responding to the nonverbal signals from teachers, parents, and friends. But that’s not the main reason I wrote it. Learning to read body language is also an effective way to develop empathy for others – and in turn, hopefully, reduce the bullying that has become such a problem on grade school campuses.

    In the schoolyard or in the workplace, bullying is a way to exert control over others through intimidation. Without a doubt, children who are bullies on the playground grow up to become bullies in the boardroom.

    Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D. (www.CKG.com) is an international speaker at corporate, government, and association events.a

    When Your Successful Past Becomes Your Greatest Obstacle

    Posted By on March 18, 2014

    There are two kinds of change — incremental and discontinuous — that are taking place simultaneously and constantly in today’s business organizations. Incremental change is the process of continuous improvement — what the Japanese refer to as “kaizen.”  Discontinuous change is the kind of large-scale transformation that turns organizations inside out and upside down.

    Incremental change fits the Newtonian framework of a linear, progressive and predictable world. There is an unmistakable logic behind incremental change that makes it easy to communicate and relatively easy for people to adopt because it uses current practices as a baseline for the systematic improvement of a product, service or system. And we human beings like that. We can base our future success on our past performance.

    But much of the change our organizations are facing today is not incremental. It is discontinuous. And, if leading incremental change can be compared to encouraging a group of joggers to gradually pick up the pace, then leading discontinuous change is like encouraging those same joggers to leap off a cliff and build their parachutes on the way down. Discontinuous change — restructuring, re-engineering, transformation, etc. — challenges our most deeply held beliefs about the past. It confronts the entire organization with the possibility that the very roles, actions and attitudes that were most responsible for past success will be insufficient, and perhaps even detrimental in the future. That concept is harder to communicate and much harder for people to adopt. We don’t like to contemplate letting go of the skills and behaviors that “got us here.” That’s understandable, that’s basic human psychology — it’s just not an attitude that helps an enterprise move forward.

    One of the greatest challenges for a leader who wants his or her team to thrive in changing times is to identify those practices and attitudes that need to be eliminated in order to more quickly adopt new behaviors. Here are five key questions that you should ask your team members to consider:

    1. What do we do best? (What skills, abilities, and attitudes are we most proud of?)

    2. Which of these current skills, abilities, and attitudes will continue to make us successful in the future?

    3. What do we need to unlearn? (Which skills are becoming obsolete? What practices — attitudes, behaviors, work routines, etc. — that worked for us in the past may be a detriment in the future?)

    4. How does our competence stop us from doing things differently? (Where are the “comfort zones” we’re most reluctant to leave?)

    5. What new skills do we need to learn to stay valuable to the organization?

    Building a culture that is comfortable with — even aggressive about — innovation, risk, and change, means that everyone needs to embrace the process of continuous learning, unlearning, and relearning that is essential to personal and organizational success. As the leader, you can begin by identifying those behaviors and attitudes that you personally need to unlearn. Then address the topic openly: Talk candidly about your problems with letting go of the past, empathize with the feelings of awkwardness that comes with leaving the “comfort zone,” and massage damaged egos by applauding all efforts that your team members make.

    Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D. is a popular international speaker at corporate, government, and association events. She’s a body language coach who helps politicians, business executives, and sales teams align their verbal and nonverbal messages for greater impact and professional success. She’s Contact Carol by phone: 510-526-1727, email: CGoman@CKG.com or through her website: www.CKG.com.

    BTW: Over the years, I’ve addressed hundreds of business organizations, non-profits, and government agencies on the topic of Change Leadership. Here is a link to one of those programs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKnkltUvZJM

    Business Body Language Tips From An Acting Coach

    Posted By on February 24, 2014

    You have probably never heard of it, but one of the best leadership books I’ve read recently is “Acting: Face to Face” by John Sudol. Although written for the television and motion picture actors that John coaches, his advice is surprisingly applicable for business leaders. So I was delighted when John agreed to this interview.

    Carol: While reading your book, I found so many similarities between the actors you work with and the executives I coach. For example, in an acting audition or job interview, your emotions (and subsequently your performance) can get high-jacked by the way others react to you.

    John: For actor and business professionals alike, one of the things that can throw you off a well-prepared game plan might surprise you. It’s the interviewer’s face. Your brain quickly assesses and makes some snap judgments about what you read on another’s face. We’ve all met people, that for some unknown reason, we immediately have warm feelings toward. They tend to make us smile and draw us to them. We’ve also all encountered people we instantly felt were potentially hostile, arrogant, bored or aloof. In an interview or audition, what you read on the interviewer’s face can provoke a variety of unwanted feelings and thoughts, such as: anxiety, self-doubt, and insecurity. If enough stress is produced it can trigger a limbic response and put you into a freeze-fight-or-flee state.

    Carol: It’s amazing how powerful those first few seconds can be. You are reading the interviewer’s facial expressions and body language as he/she is reading yours. You are both making instantaneous assessments that can make or break the entire meeting.

    John: Depending on how you handle the unexpected rush of emotion, in a blink of an eye, you can be on your way down the proverbial rabbit hole. Your thoughts become scattered. You can’t remember the interviewer’s name, your own name, your breath quickens, your voice goes weak and before you know it, you’ve forgotten what you planned to do and start saying and doing things you never intended to say or do.
    Since this emotional response to someone’s face is hardwired in our brain and can come on quickly, I tell my actors they need to be prepared for it to happen. By this I mean, they need to be mindful of the game-throwing changes occurring in their bodies that seem to happen for no apparent reason during those first few moments of the initial greeting.

    Carol: Good advice. I worked with a client recently who said that she took immediately felt rejected – and the interview hadn’t even started. For both the actor and the business professional, having an ability to read emotional expressions on people’s faces and not react to them can be a powerful advantage.

    John: By spotting the emotional patterns ahead of time you can prepare yourself for the feelings that will surely arise. I believe that when we view another’s face from a place of (inner) security, we know that what’s on their face is about them. When we read it from our own insecurities we tend to think that what is on their face is about us.

    In my own life I’ve adopted the mantra “What’s on their face is not about me!” These words have saved me numerous of times when speaking in large rooms looking out and seeing facial billboards flashing judgment, criticism, boredom, doubt, suspicion. Most often, and ironically, those are the very same people who will approach, contact or email me after the lecture thanking me for my work and their favorable experience in the audience that day! Again, “what’s on their face is not about me!”

    Carol: We are in the midst of a visual technology revolution, and more and more professionals are meeting “face-to-face” through Facetime, Skype, Google Hangouts, or video-conferencing. I tell executives that when their verbal messages are out of alignment with their nonverbal signals, audiences are forced to choose between the two. And almost always, the viewer will consciously or unconsciously (a “gut feeling”) believe what they see and not what you say. There must be a lot that business professionals can learn from actors who have been using visual mediums their entire careers. How do audiences “read” an actor’s facial expressions — and what does that mean to people in the business world?

    John: According to the work of Dr. Paul Ekman and many other leading researchers in the field of emotions, there are 7 Universal Emotions: Surprise, Anger, Fear, Sadness, Joy, Disgust and Contempt. (There are far more emotions than these 7, however these 7 have been confirmed by Ekman’s research to be the only ones that are universally recognized.) What makes them recognizable is, each emotion has its own set of muscle groups or muscle patterns unique to that emotion.

    When an audience watches a talented actor, they pick up both the overt and subtle muscle changes in the actor’s face, as well as changes in the body and the voice. If the muscle changes they see are associated with one or more of the universal emotions, the audience, whether knowing of these emotions, consciously or not, senses them. If these changes fit the context of the movie, meaning the situation the character is in or the characters’ history, they make sense to the viewer and they continue to watch with ease. However, if they are not contextually fitting or distracting, the viewer begins to question the actor’s skill level or character consistency.

    The same conditions also apply to business communication. During a video conference, a participant’s face is usually the center of attention and as a result it is under sharp scrutiny. The person viewing may not consciously pick up the subtle changes in somone’s face, however more often than not they are influenced by them. That’s because our eyes are usually taking in more information than we are aware of, and we are responding to this input. For the actor or the business professional, understanding emotions and what they feel and look like on your face can open the door to greater personal and professional results, more engaging interactions, and successful collaborations with others.

    Carol:  How do audiences spot a “lie” in an actor’s performance — and how does this same process make it difficult for leaders to convince an employee audience?

    John: An actor’s goal is to achieve deception. He lives in an imagined world and passes it off to the viewer as the real one. To bring his audience into his imagined world with the hopes of achieving deception, he must understand, relate and be emotionally inspired by his imagine world as well as be emotionally available with a keen eye and hand for detail. Although a business presenter’s world is real, there are similarities with the actor’s world. If a presenter doesn’t understand, relate or is emotionally inspired by what he’s talking about, motivating and inspiring others may be very difficult.

    Whether an actor or presenter, the goal for both is to appear truthful. To be believed, all actions, reactions, and the words expressed must appear to be real, recognizable, and appropriate for whatever topic being expressed or the situation taking place. However, neither will appear to be truthful, if the actions, reactions, and words are not expressed with the appropriate: timing, intensity and duration. If an action or reaction starts to soon or too late, it will either appear to be a lie or have a different meaning. If the emotion intensity too strong or too weak, we will be unsure of how he really feels if he feels anything at all. If the emotion starts to soon or ends to quick, the truth of what he’s feeling will be questioned. And if the audience doesn’t recognize what’s on the actor’s or presenter’s face, or if it doesn’t seem appropriate for the situation, or if the timing in which emotion appears or disappears is off in any way, they are less likely to embrace what either the actor or presenter has to offer.

    Carol: You also talk about “emotional distortions” and how they interfere with good acting. I see a direct link to effective leadership communication.

    John: I define distortions as anything that interferes with the creating or the revealing of what we intend. For an actor or a business leader, there are many reasons why an intended communication breaks down. Sometimes we have an awareness of it, however, most of the time we don’t. In my book, I outlined seven distortions including: your own face, how you are wired to express, your culture, family idiosyncrasies, your psychology, inappropriate emotional triggers, and how you listen.

    John: Your face may be speaking to others in ways that can become a distortion in two ways, which I will refer to as “static” or “default.”

    How your face is structured (the static face) can be responsible for the appearance of emotion even when you’re not particularly feeling anything at all. For some people, their face resembles an emotion. For example, a low brow, deep-set eyes or thin lips may look like anger. The pulling down of the corners of the lips might make a person appear to be sad. Arched eyebrows may be responsible for the skeptical look on your face. Or, the deep folds on the side of your nose makes you appear to be disapproving. Your static face is often the result of your age, ethnicity, and emotional history. If people often ask you if you’re upset about something or if they think you may not like them, I suggest looking at your static face. Your “static face” is about the structure of your face that you may or may not have much control over.

    The face you go to for comfort or security is what I call the default face. It’s a face most of us learned a long time ago. For one reason or another, the face you learned to put on makes you feel differently about yourself. For example, if you didn’t want everyone to know you were frightened, you might’ve covered it by displaying some of the muscles groups in the anger family. Or maybe in an attempt to hide your insecurities, you learned to bring in the muscle group for contempt so you would feel that you were above it all. Although your default face may bring you comfort or security, others are defining you by it… intolerant, bitch, victim, sarcastic, pompous, etc.

    Carol: With corporate clients, I tell them that in an initial meeting, they have less than seven seconds to make a first (and surprisingly lasting) impression – and much of that impression will depend on how people react to their face. I also find that most business leaders have no idea of how their static and default faces are interpreted by others.

    John: With actors, the first thing I do with them is a face reading. Knowing what your face is saying to others is powerful information. If people consistently misinterpret, what you feel, your intentions or even your intelligence, the first distortion I would investigate is what your face is saying.

    Carol: John, this has been great. Thank you so much!

    Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D. is a body language coach who helps politicians, business executives, and sales teams align their verbal and nonverbal messages for greater impact and professional success. She’s a popular international speaker at corporate, government, and association events. Contact Carol by phone: 510-526-1727, email: CGoman@CKG.com or through her website: www.CKG.com.

    Why You Should Reach Out and Touch Someone

    Posted By on January 31, 2014

    If you found a coin, would you give it to a person who approached you and said it was theirs? Would it make any difference if the person approaching you touched your arm when they made their request?

    Well, for most people, the answers are no . . . and yes! Only 23 percent of the unsuspecting subjects set up in this experiment by researchers at the University of Minnesota admitted they had found the money when asked. But, if the researcher touched the elbow of the subject when inquiring about the coin, the percentage of those admitting possession rose to 68 percent—and they often looked embarrassed, with explanations like “I was just looking around to see who lost the money.”

    We are programmed to feel closer to someone who’s touched us. The person who touches also feels more connected. It’s a powerful force and even momentary touching can create a human bond. A touch on the forearm that lasts a mere 1/40th of a second can make the receiver not only feel better but also see the giver as being kinder and warmer.  The person who’s been touched also perceives the environment as being friendlier.

    The right kind of touch at the right time can even make you money. Research by the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration concludes that being touched by servers increase the tips that customers leave. At two informal restaurants, waitresses had assigned to them customers who were randomly divided into three categories. Some customers were not touched at all, others were touched once on the shoulder for about one and a half seconds, and the rest were touched twice on the palm of the hand for about half a second each. All touches were casually given as the waitress returned change to their customers at the end of the meal. In all cases, eye contact was avoided.

    The results at both restaurants were significant. Customers who weren’t touched left an average tip of 12%. Tips increased to 14% from those who were touched on the shoulder, and to 17% from those touched twice on the hand.

    But it isn’t only in restaurants that customers respond favorably to touch. In many commercial settings, casually touching customers has been shown to increase the time they spend in a store, the amounts they purchase, and the favorable evaluation of their shopping experience in that store. It was observed that supermarket customers who had been touched were more likely to taste and purchase food samples than non-touched customers. Touch has also been found to increase the number of people who volunteered to score papers and sign petitions.

    And, after reviewing broadcasts of games from the 2008-09 season, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, concluded that good teams tend to be much more hands-on than bad ones. In the study, which was titled “Tactile Communication, Cooperation and Performance: An Ethological Study of the NBA,” it was found that teams whose players touched the most often (slaps, hugs, taps or bumps) were more cooperative, played better and won more games.

    It’s a different story in the workplace — at least for some cultures. In Anglo Saxon cultures (especially the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom) touching work colleagues is far less common than in some other parts of the world. Marc, my colleague in London said, “Brits hardly ever touch business colleagues.  Some times they might tap the table with a pen close to the person they are connecting with, but bodily contact is avoided.” Jenifer, a professional communicator from Sydney told me, “Australians would flinch or stiffen at a touch from a business colleague. Most male executives would be concerned about legal implications of touching a female in the workplace.”

    Sound familiar?

    Contrast that with an experience I had several years ago when I was booked to speak at a conference in Venezuela. The meeting planner, whom I knew solely through email correspondence and telephone conversations, met me at the Caracas airport. He greeted me with a soft lingering handshake, and then a hug and a kiss on the cheek. As we walked toward the waiting car and driver, he put his hand on my shoulder. He sat close to me in the back seat of the car, and, as we discussed the upcoming program, he often touched my arm or hand.

    If you had been there, how would you have evaluated all that contact?

    The “right” answer, of course, varies depending on which cultural standards you use when judging, and what those standards reflect about touching and being touched.

    The cultural differences in touch frequency showed up in a study where conversations in outdoor cafes (in Florida, London and San Juan, Puerto Rico) were observed and the number of times people gave or received casual touches was counted. A total of 189 touches per hour were recorded in San Juan, and two per hour in Florida. And in London during that same hour? None.

    If touch in the workplace is rare, that doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful: Bill is the head of Marketing for a telecommunications company – and a natural “toucher.” As such, he utilizes an interesting and effective communication technique. When he speaks, he touches the listener (most always on the forearm) to add emphasis to key parts of his statements. Touching ensures that, for a moment, he has someone’s full attention. Because touch is used most often when we believe strongly in something (a liar will rarely touch the one he is talking to), Bill’s touching also subconsciously enhances his credibility.

    I thought of him when I was coaching Suzanne. Suzanne was the leader of an Information Technology department – a brilliant “techie”, struggling to develop better interpersonal communication skills. After watching Suzanne in one-on-one conversations with various business managers (and seeing the dismissive way most of the managers treated her) I was wondering how to help her command their attention. And then I saw it. In one conversation, Suzanne was so intent on what she saying that she leaned forward and touched her colleague’s arm. And what a difference that single touch made. The manager looked up at Suzanne as if seeing her for the first time. And, more importantly, he began to really listen to what she was saying.

    Of course I’m not advocating groping or other inappropriate physical contact — and some people simply don’t like being touched in any way. But it does seem to me that in our sensitivity to political correctness, we may have lost a potent way to connect with others. Sometimes the simple act of touching to show support, encouragement, agreement, sympathy, interest or gratitude adds the personal warmth to our business communication that is otherwise lacking.

    Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D. is a body language coach who helps politicians, business executives, and sales teams align their verbal and nonverbal messages for greater impact and professional success. She’s a popular international speaker at corporate, government, and association events. Contact Carol by phone: 510-526-1727, email: CGoman@CKG.com or through her website: www.CKG.com.

    10 Simple and Powerful Body Language Tips for 2014

    Posted By on January 2, 2014

    Since writing “The Silent Language of Leaders” three years ago, and “The Nonverbal Advantage” a couple of years before that, I’ve spoken to over two hundred business, university, association, and government audiences — and, in the process of preparing to address these very savvy professionals, I’ve discovered even more about the role of body language in business success.

    Here are my ten simple and powerful body language tips for 2014:

    1) Before an important meeting, breathe through your mouth.

    Right before you enter the meeting room, take a deep breath and exhale through your mouth. (If you are unobserved, make a soft “ahh” sound.) Doing so releases the tension in your neck, shoulders and jaw that can make you look rigid or aggressive.

    2) When making a formal presentation, move then pause.

    Human beings are drawn to movement. If you move when you speak, you’ll get people’s attention. It can be especially effective to move toward the audience before making a key point, and away when you want to signal a break or a change of subject. You can also use space to reinforce your ideas. For example, if you’re presenting three issues, talk about each of them from a different physical position. Or if you have “bad” news and “good” news, you can present each from different sides of the stage or platform. (Just be sure to make your closing remarks while standing on the “good” side.) But don’t move while making a crucial comment. You have the most impact when you combine movement with physical pauses in which you stand absolutely still to highlight your most important points.

    3) To look decisive, rotate your palms down.

    In essence, gestures with palms exposed show that you are open and willing to negotiate on a particular point, while palms turned down indicate that you are closed to negotiation. But people also automatically pronate their hands when they feel strongly about something. In fact, a definitive gesture of authority when you speak is placing both hands, palms down, on or right above the conference table.

    4) If you want to be taken seriously, speak up early.

    When you hang back in a meeting, only to offer your opinion toward the end of the conversation, your input is more likely to be discounted. By speaking up early, even if it on some trivial matter, you establish yourself as someone who is “at the table” and ready to participate. Then later, when you present your insights and suggestions, they will be better received.

    5) To know when people want to leave, watch for seated readiness.

    People often signal that they are ready to end a conversation by assuming the position of someone ready to rise. (They may move to the edge of the chair, or lean forward with hands on the arms of the chair or hands on knees.) If you are aware of someone assuming these postures while you are speaking, you should respect that signal by quickly finishing what you are saying.

    6) To sharpen your negotiating skills, notice how fast you can make or break rapport.

    While seated at a conference table across from your counterpart, push back from the table and lean away from him or her. You’ll most likely see your counterpart react in kind by backing away from you. Now lean forward and put your hands on the table (with your palms showing), look him or her in the eyes and smile. Watch as the interaction warms up and is much more friendly and open. That’s how fast your body language can help you build or break rapport.

    7) When you want your team to collaborate, start marching.

    Ensemble marching, singing, dancing, and drumming are all examples of activities that lead group members to act in synchrony with each other. Stanford University conducted research that showed that synchronous activity motivates members of a group to contribute toward the collective good. Across three experiments, people acting in synchrony with others cooperated more in subsequent group economic exercises, even in situations requiring sacrifice on a personal level from the group.

    8) To sound dynamic, widen your stance.

    Your voice comes from your entire body, not just your mouth. Your body helps you become a more dynamic speaker when it is grounded — feet planted firmly on the floor, a hips-width apart, with your weight evenly distributed. A broad stance like this calms your nervous system, allows you to breathe with ease, and amplifies your voice. (This tip comes from Rhoda Agin, a speech and voice therapist.)

    9) To stay in control, back up.

    Research at Radboud University, Netherlands, showed how backward motion was a powerful way to enhance cognitive control. The researchers found that when people encounter a difficult situation, getting them to step back (literally) boosted their ability to cope.

    10) To increase team productivity, keep your body language open.

    People are constantly monitoring their leader for emotional cues. If your body looks closed, depressed or angry, these postures (and their corresponding emotions) will be subconsciously picked up and mimicked by your team. It’s a process called “emotional contagion” – and it can also work in your favor. If you keep your posture relaxed, inclusive and open, your team will respond by being more cohesive, positive and productive.

    By the way: Just because these ten tips are simple, don’t underestimate their power. Small nonverbal changes can make a big difference in how people perceive and relate to you.

    Happy New Year!

    Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D. is a body language coach who helps politicians, business executives, and sales teams align their verbal and nonverbal messages for greater impact and professional success. She’s a popular international speaker at corporate, government, and association events. Contact Carol by phone: 510-526-1727, email: CGoman@CKG.com or through her website: www.CKG.com.