Mixing Red Noses and Business Body Language – Red Nose Day

What happens when you add red noses, red sunglasses, red ball caps, red bow ties, and red deely boppers to the business environment?whats-with-the-nose

Confusion, mixed-up business body language, fun, and fundraising for US children living in poverty.

Red Nose Day, Thursday, May 26, is a nationwide day spotlighting the plight of US children living in poverty as well as providing an opportunity to donate to Comic Relief, Inc., the nonprofit that hosts the event. It has multiple sponsors – Walgreen’s (where I purchased my Red Nose gear), NBC, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, M&M’s, and many others.

You are encouraged to wear your Red Nose paraphernalia to work, act silly, and raise funds. The challenge is to act silly in the work environment and still be within your organization’s norms. Not easy to do.

Here are some Business Body Language tips to make Red Nose Day silly, successful, and simple:

  1. Smile. A smile opens lots of doors and provides you the opportunity to act a bit silly. Try it!
  2. Pretend that nothing is different and that the red nose, deely bopper and bow tie are your normal attire. It can momentarily confuse others and you can observe great facial expressions.
  3. Take the opportunity to be a mime. A mime, an actor that does not speak but conveys messages through exaggerated body language, is the highest form of body language. Channel your inner actor/mime and communicate through facial expressions and body movements. Be brief and watch the reactions.
  4. Interact with someone and see if you can get them “in the Red Nose” spirit. You’ll be giving them a great gift when they drop their business persona for a moment and act silly. HINT: have a couple of spare red noses in your pocket. Give them out freely.
  5. If you have the opportunity, interact with children. You’ll notice that they naturally can be silly. It’s fun

Follow all the social media and televised activities at http://rednoseday.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/RedNoseDayUSA/.

Business Body Language Invades the Theatre

Business Body Language in the theatre? Yes, the theatre is business. More accurately, the body language discussed in today’s blog is reinforcing the brand of the two theatrical characters – Evita (Eva Peron) and Lady Day (Billie Holiday).

evita-2

lady-day

Within two weeks I saw Evita and Lady Day at the Emerson Café. I enjoyed both productions immensely and was struck by the importance of body language in delivering the messages. Both lead actors were not just portraying individuals, but replicating the performances and appearances of these intense and well known women. Yolanda London and Alyssa Chiarello played Billie Holiday and Eva Peron respectively.

Let’s talk about the business body language of the two performances.

The most striking similarity is that both actors were always consistently in character – not just costumes and voice, but all the gestures and facial movements that make up business body language.  This is difficult when playing such well known contemporary individuals. Many in the audience could have seen either Billie Holiday or Eva Peron in person and formed their own body language memory. Additionally, virtually all of us have seen photographs and film of both and came into the theatre with our own perception of “who” they were and how they should act.

Individually they were very different – the theatrics of controversial Eva Peron, wife of Argentinian President Juan Peron who was adored by the descamisados (shirtless ones) and the exotic and addicted Billie Holiday near the end of her life in 1959.  They both had a signature style and a signature persona – each dramatic in its own way.

Eva Peron’s character evolves/changes many times during the performance, but her essence of bigger than life is evident from that first appearance when she describes where she wants to be. We only see Billie Holiday as a snapshot – one evening’s performance, but her character changes as the drug dependence flares and subsides. Yet, there is the essence of Billie Holiday in her every moment on stage.

billie-1 evita-1

The face, the arms and the hands were the body language components that defined both Eva Peron and Billie Holiday. They were both body language masters in sending strong messages to large numbers of people. There was little movement back and forth and their messages were not dependent on a sense of forward motion. Billie Holiday’s stage was a small, intimate club setting which did not allow lots of moving around. Eva Peron was most often “on display” behind a podium, standing on a balcony with her husband, or speaking.

Of the three powerful body language components, which do you think was most effective for Eva Peron and for Billie Holiday?

Facial gestures

Arm movements

Hand movements

Here are some things to consider:

  • Facial gestures
    • Could you receive the message without seeing the facial movements?
    • Did the facial gestures make the message more intimate?
    • Were the facial gestures typical, just exaggerated for the theatre?
  • Arm gestures
    • Both of these women were masters of the arm gesture. Do you typically look at arms?
    • Both used the slow raise of the arms from at the sides to fully extended. Did you get the message that they were in control of the situation?
    • Did the arm gestures bring you closer to the message?
  • Hand gestures
    • Were the hand gestures seamlessly coordinated with the arm gestures?
    • Did the hand gestures emphasize the message of control?
    • Were the hand gestures inclusive (drawing you in) or exclusive (pushing you away)?

I don’t expect you to adopt the full persona of these powerful women. White sequined gown or tight fitting cocktail dress tends to be over the top for the office.

But what can you learn from these beautiful, powerful, and complex women’s business body language?

Leave your comments and we can start a conversation.

Originally published on PhxPublishingAndBookPromotion.wordpress.com.

The Dangers of Being A Business Body Language Pro

Once you are conscious of business body language, you unconsciously observe what is happening around you through the lens of business body language.

glass-table

It spills over into your personal life at home, with friends, or standing in the supermarket checkout line.

My favorite personal story occurred recently. My husband and I were sitting at the dining room table having one of our periodic calendar/planning meetings. We matched our calendars for the week, then began to discuss several issues that required us to collaborate. One item was a bit contentious. Suddenly his body language changed and sent a huge alarm. He had turned his feet and his body away from me toward the dining room exit. Our dining room table is glass, so the changes in his feet were very evident.

What do you think was going?

Yes, he had “left the building.” While his face was still facing me, the rest of his body (and his attention!) were someplace else.

who-are-youI asked him if he wanted to re-engage in the conversation and explained how I figured out that he wasn’t a part of the conversation any more.

His response was “you know too much about body language. I have to pay attention all the time!”

My lesson learned is to be gentle and nonconfrontational in providing feedback based on the business body language I observed.  You don’t want people to be wary of interacting with you for fear of a constant body language audit. The reality is that you are always “on” and you never stop looking at body language.

I do use my ever present scanning function to create humor when I speak to groups. As I am waiting to be introduced I look at the “group” body language as well as individual body language. My opening might be: group-shot

Hi, my name is Barbara Chatzkel and I’m the Body Language Pro. I’ve been watching you and I know a lot about all of you. (Gesturing toward one individual.) The gentleman in the blue striped shirt – I hope you can resolve whatever is bothering you because you are broadcasting angry messages. (Nervous laughter from audience) And the woman in the green dress, I’m so happy to see you because you are wearing a big smile and your body language is open and receptive. (More laughter) Thank you so much for being here.

Relax and enjoy your business body language powers. Remember – don’t use your expertise for evil.

Originally published on PhxPublishingAndBookPromotion.wordpress.com.

What does Business Body Language have to do with early choral music? Plenty!

photo-1-empty-stage

There I was, sitting in an art gallery space and waiting for a concert of early choral music to begin. And, WHAM! — All these business body language messages were being sent and received.

“What do you mean? Business body language coming from a musical group that sings only music written before 1700?”

Yes, indeed. HELIOS [a modern renaissance] is a seven-member group that performed at the Downtown Chamber Series in Phoenix in January 2016. Their mission statement clearly describes what I experienced as an attendee – Seven voices illuminating early music with contemporary insight.

During the 90-minute performance they sang 18 pieces of early music written between the 1500s and the early 1600s. The songs were performed with no instrumental accompaniment and were in English, Latin, Italian, Hebrew and French.

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Where did I observe business body language? Everywhere in each piece performed. It was a delight to view each performer as a separate contributor and enjoy their gifts, but the best body language examples were of HELIOS as a team.

The individual vocalists had great performance body language with a relaxed torso, arms resting at sides, leaning slightly forward, and with a solid stance. This is ideal relaxed and at ease body language. You were not distracted by individual movements that could break the fluidity of the team and could appreciate the music and the group body language flow.

HELIOS is a self-directed team and describe themselves as: “We are without a director, but not without direction. We are seven strong leaders collaborating to bring compositions from before 1700 to light.” All relied heavily on eye contract with other members to maintain the timing and pace of these complex pieces

photo-3-eye-contact

One example of them functioning as a single unit was a unified inhale of breath just before the start of a piece or a new segment. It was both an anticipatory move as well as a practical one to fill their lungs with air. It was an act of excellent coordination.

Sometimes the group did not act in unison because of the different vocal parts, but each individual action was congruent and complementary to the other members which provided the overall HELIOS brand image. The body language description is that they are mirroring each other.  While they are not matching each breath, everyone’s body language is very similar to the other members of the group. Mirroring is a sure way to build rapport in a situation.

photo-4-complimentary-mirroring

 

No one person stood out during a selection – even if one voice was singing, it was still part of the group activity – you had to look around to see whose lovely voice you were hearing at the moment. This was enhanced by the similar body language stances maintained by all members.

photo-6-supremes-helios-girl-group

 

One selection was sung by the three women members of the group.  They reminded me of the powerful “girl groups” of the 1960’s and 1970s. The HELIOS singers were always looking at each other for cues with the result that they functioned as one unit. The girl groups were famous for lots of choreographed body language movement such as finger snapping, three steps forward, and ornate arm movements. The HELIOS performers were just as powerful with their simple and relaxed body language of arms at their sides, relaxed shoulders and feet about shoulder width apart. These three body language displays together create a message of confident, relaxed and interested individuals.

After several pieces I was able to detect body language cues that a piece was coming to an end. Almost imperceptibly they would stand up a bit straighter, have more frequent eye contact among the group, and adopt “anticipatory” body language – poised to sing the finale.

Smiles are my favorite business body language activity. They can be so expressive and it is easy to tell if the smile is genuine. It was delightful to watch them smile individually and then as a group when they were pleased with what they were singing

At the end of a piece that was particularly well done, each of the performers would have such a genuine smile that showed how much they enjoyed performing the piece as well as how much they appreciated the applause from the audience. Click here to receive a description of the difference between a real and a fake smile.

The evening was a double treat for me – I got to listen to outstanding performances of early music AND was able to observe business body language at work in a new situation.

Check out the HELIOS web site to learn more about this newer, but going places, group. (www.HELIOSphx.org). I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Originally published on PhxPublishingAndBookPromotion.wordpress.com.

Every four years Americans are treated to a body language extravaganza

Welcome to this month’s insight into business body language. It’s a place to get tips on what signals your body is sending and how to modify your body language to match your business message.

Last month we took concludes our look at hands and fingers, the last of the body broadcast centers. We now turn our focus from individual gestures to specific situations and discuss how you can interpret what is going on and what body language might work well in the situation.

BBL COVER - VERSION 3A

 

 

TAKEAWAY:

  1. Over the next month observe three or four political figures either in person or on television/video. Did those gestures strengthen the message that was being delivered? Will you adopt the practice?
  2. During the month, focus on how which hand and finger gestures you use most frequently. Think about the message your hands and fingers are sending. Is it the message you want people to receive?

It’s Hands and Fingers All Over Again

Welcome to this month’s insight into business body language. These posts are the place to get tips on the signals your body is sending and how to modify your body language to match your business message.

bbl-cover-version-3aLast month we took a first look at hands and fingers, the last of the body’s broadcast centers. Research shows that the hands and fingers are the least important component in sending a message. It’s hard to believe, because we all know someone who “talks with their hands.”

When you encounter someone who talks with their hands, close your eyes for a moment and see if their message has the same impact without the visuals. Do the gestures add to the meaning of the business conversation or do they distract from the main point?

talking hands

Different hand gestures come into popularity and then fade away. Almost inevitably, some of these gestures (such as fist bumping or high fiving) make their way into business body language for at least a brief period.

fist bump

Unless you are very familiar with the person AND the organizational culture, I recommend staying away from these alternative greeting styles. Business body language is generally 10 or so years behind popular culture. Use this measure: If your grandfather would use the hand gesture in a business setting, you can, too.

We’ve concluded our overview of the five broadcast centers of the body – face, legs and feet, arms, torso, and fingers and hands. Next month’s post will change the focus from individual gestures to specific situations and discuss how you can interpret what is happening and what body language might work well in a given situation.fists w glasses

TAKEAWAYS:

  1. Over the next month, observe how frequently people use hand gestures like fist bumping and high fiving in business settings. Did those gestures strengthen the message? Will you adopt the practice?
  2. Throughout the month, focus on which hand and finger gestures you use most frequently. Think about the message your hands and fingers are sending. Is it the message you want people to receive?

Originally published on PhxPublishingAndBookPromotion.wordpress.com.

It Only Takes a Nanosecond!

Welcome to my Day 3 Post for the Author Blogging Challenge.

As I say this I am sitting at my desk with a smile and looking directly at you (or where you would be). My hands and arms are at chest level and outstretched toward you. My palms are facing up and my fingers are relaxed and open.

Mork & Mindy

Wow – it took me 47 words to describe my body language that you would “read” and interpret in a nanosecond (a shout out to the anniversary of The Mork & Mindy Show’s 1978 debut). Body language is a very efficient way to communicate, but only if you understand the messages you are sending.

More about that below. The Day 3 writing prompt asks about kinds of classes, programs or workshops I’ve taken to hone my writing skills and whether I’ve taught a writing class. Short answer – none and no. I am definitely in the category of “Self Taught.”

I am writing Business Body Language: Your Visual Business Card because as a consultant, speaker and executive coach I witnessed so many “mixed signals” in communication. What the speaker was saying and what the body language was broadcasting were opposite. And in that case, the receiver of the communication ALWAYS believes the body language.

Mixed Signals Enter Do Not Enter

Business Body Language Tip of the Day

Tip of the Day

Make sure your body language (face, feet & legs, arms, torso, hands & fingers) are broadcasting the same message that you are speaking. You spend time thinking about what you are going to say. I suggest that you spend an equal amount of time in thinking about the body language to accompany it.

Finally, a lesson learned already in the Challenge – 24 hours is not a lot of time. I had just written Day 1’s blog and

Shazam 2

it was almost the end of Day 2 and I was just posting. My intent is to write at least one day ahead so that I am calmly posting instead of racing against time. Let’s see how I do.

Regards, Barbara

The Body Language Pro

I’d Rather Read Than Write

BBL COVER - VERSION 3AWelcome, or welcome back, to Day 2 of the Author Blogging Challenge. Today’s prompt is about writing – when did I start? what was the motivation? what is my process?

Talking about writing unifies the authors participating in this challenge. It also gives me the opportunity to tell you about me and my passion for body language.

I would characterize myself as a “reactive” writer from childhood through college. I wrote when I was required to, but I have no memory of ever sitting down to write independently.
Read & Wrtie 2On the other hand, I have many, many memories of reading from the time I was very young. I was fortunate to have a mother who read to me a lot. My growing up memories about reading often included her.

I have always preferred reading to writing and our house reflects that. There are lots of books in every room. I don’t think I’ve ever met a book I did not like.

Student hand writing on a sheet of paperPost It 1

While I had no formal writing training, an excellent high school English teach made sure that we mastered the foundational skills of grammar and different types of writing. He did a writing project that has stayed with me. On day one the assignment, we were given a full sheet of writing paper and were asked to answer a question. OK, that was routine. The next day we got half a sheet of writing paper and were asked to answer the same question. That was harder. Each day the piece of paper got smaller in size by half until my writing space was the size of the tiniest Post It. The lesson was that it was harder to write something shorter and that you had to plan differently. Try it if you want to be challenged.

This Challenge will help me develop my “on demand” writing skills – turning out a certain number of words with a short deadline.

But it’s all worth it because the end result is completion of my book, Business Body Language: Your Visual Business Card. I can’t wait.

Yesterday, I promised to introduce you to the five broadcast centers of the body and their relative importance in communicating your message. In order of most to least impact the broadcast centers are:

  1. Face
  2. Legs & Feet
  3. Arms
  4. Torso
  5. Hands & Fingers

Think about your legs and feet as important communicators of body language. We’ll talk more about that in a future post.

Start observing how others use body language effectively and ineffectively. My book focus on maximizing the effectiveness of your body language, so come back daily to learn tips that you can use immediately.

Regards, Barbara

The Body Language Pro

Promising to post on this blog for 35 consecutive days

BBL COVER - VERSION 3A

Hello. Wellcome to the first post on my blog, Body Language Pro. Thanks so much for starting on the journey with me. An Author Blog Challenge spurred me on to bring more folks into the conversation about business body language.

35 3

The Author Blog Challenge is to post for 35 days consecutively about a variety of topics – writing a book, being an author, and about business body language.

I signed up for this Challenge to motivate me to finish my current book, Business Body Language, to get feedback on my writing, and most importantly to build a community of individuals interested in learning more about business body language.

At the end of the Challenge, my goals are to be back in the groove of writing on a daily basis, to “meet” at least 100 people through this blog, and to move closer to book publication.

For each day of the Challenge, there is a writing prompt posted that provides a suggested subject for that day’s blog. Advance notice – some days I will write about the prompt and other days I will write about something else that has sparked my interest. So, each day is like “Anything Can Happen Day.”

Each day I will include at least a tidbit relating to business body language. It’s a universal topic – everyone communicates through body language.

Day 1 Tip – You only have one chance to make a first impression so it’s important to think about your whole persona as you begin a conversation.

Lasting First Impression Name Tag

Stop by tomorrow to learn about the five major body “broadcast centers” and their relative importance.

Regards, Barbara

The Body Language Pro

Be Careful of What You are Pointing At

Welcome to this month’s insight into business body language. It’s a place to get tips on what signals your body is sending and how to modify your body language to match your message.

The last two months were “field trips” into the everyday world to examine what business body language looks like in real life. Today we are going to return to the five broadcast centers of the body – face, legs and feet, arms, torso, and fingers and hands. The focus is on the hands and fingers – the final broadcast center.

Most people question that hands and fingers are the least important of the body broadcast centers. The order of importance is based on the “broadcast center” itself conveying the message. As we look, we’ll find that the hands and fingers support other parts of the body in sending the message. In most situations, you do not focus solely on the hands and fingers, but also the facial expression and the arms. Look at these two photos. The hands and fingers are basically doing the same thing, but the message is clearly different when you look at the faces and the arms. The woman on the left is clenching her fists in frustration, while the woman on the right is clenching her hands in victory. The distinction is clear.

clenching-your-fistSome tips on your hands and fingers:

You can point at an object or to indicate a direction, but NEVER point at a person. This gesture is immediately viewed as offensive or aggressive. The man pointing in the white shirt below may be giving directions or pointing at a person. Note, however, that his pointing finger and arm are relaxed, so the messaging is probably informational. The pointing by former Governor Brewer (AZ) is clearly directed at the individual, who happens to be the President of the United States. It is clear that she is “telling him something” and does not want to be interrupted.

finger pointingDo you remember having the finger pointed at you as a child? What was your reaction? That reaction will be more intense in an adult. “Remember, when you point at someone, there are three fingers pointing back at you.” Anonymous

The one exception to the finger pointing directly to a person is the “I Want You for the US i want youArmy” poster. What is the message being sent? Does the pointing make it more personal?

Next month we will conclude our discussion on hands and fingers. There are some “new” gestures in the business environment, and we’ll look at them.

fist bumpHave an enjoyable month and remember to periodically check to see that your body language actually mirrors the message you want to send.

TAKEAWAYS

  1. Over the next month observe how people use their hands and fingers in a business setting. Is it evident if a person is not happy? What are the key clues for you?
  2. During the month, focus on how your hands and fingers amplify your message. They also can distract from a message. Think about the message your hands and fingers are sending. Is it the message you want people to receive?

Originally published on PhxPublishingAndBookPromotion.wordpress.com.