Your Hidden Language: Training Employees to Develop Positive Body Language

Body Language

“The human body is the best picture of the human soul.”

~ Ludwig Wittgenstein ~

Conflict among staff can occur because of the things we say or how we act.  It can also occur when our body language communicates things we might not be aware of.  To increase harmony in the office, consider training employees to develop a recognition of the importance of body language and give them skills to master it.

When we listen to people, we also read their body language to see if it is in sync with their words. Most people recognize the body language that says: I’m interested, I’m not interested, I’m busy, please listen to me.

But some people are less aware of body language. When they ignore these messages or misread them, tension and irritation occurs.  Training employees to develop awareness of other people’s body language and the unspoken messages they send can create more trust and harmony in the work place.  It’s worth the effort.

 1. Give Voice to Body Language. If you find that meetings are disrupted by annoying fidgeting or conversations are distracted by the listener staring off into space, it may be time to talk about and train your staff on this topic.  Consider role playing to show the messages sent so even the less sensitive workers recognize the language of the body.  Video tape staff speaking or listening so they can see their own body language.

Often people are highly critical when they see themselves on screen. Balance their views with supportive staff who point out the messages they see in their coworker’s body language.  When body language is addressed head on and out in the open, employees develop more sensitivity to their physical actions as well as being in tune with others.

2. Body language that shows more than you want.   The key effectiveness of body language is that it helps others discern a person’s true feelings.  While you might think you are talking pleasantly to someone you’re angry with, your body language will tell a different story.  Help employees develop coping strategies.

  • Check your emotions. Before you talk with a person or enter a meeting, evaluate how you feel about the people you will see.  If you feel angry, frustrated, or condescending toward anyone there, watch out!  Be very careful your body is not exhibiting your emotions.
  • Be honest.  The easiest way to gain great body language is to have good emotions and communication skills.  If you are interested, if you are paying attention, if you are respectful to your co workers, your body will automatically broadcast those emotions.

3. Body Language that lies. As you train and develop your employees, help them recognize the internal and external reasons body language may not represent the “truth.”

  • If a person is hungry or needs to relieve him or herself, the stresses of the body will be reflected in actions.  The fidgeting, hunching the body, or glancing at the clock might be misinterpreted as disinterest, when the causes are biological.  Help your employees avoid sending these incorrect messages by planning ahead and not going into meetings or events hungry or stressed.  A chilly room may cause crossed arms.
  • Illness—either temporary or long-running can affect our body language. Help employees be aware of others who have ADHD or Tourette’s or any of a host of other medical problems that may cause them to act differently.

Offices run smoother when conflicts are kept to a minimum through understanding and respect.  One effective way to make this happen is through training employees to be aware of their own body language and to not misunderstand the body language of those around them.

Contact Joel to find out more about training and developing employees. 

Talkback: What annoying body language have you faced?  Was there ever a time when you thought you understood someone’s body language and discovered you were mistaken?

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Don’t Be Broken, Be Golden and Stand Out

Unique Egg
“There is nothing in the world so much admired as a man who knows how to bear unhappiness with courage.”

~ Seneca ~

As the country struggles to recover from the recession, the job market is currently the best it has been in three years. Still, hiring is low, wages are flat, and new graduates and seasoned professionals are both adrift. Some industries have disappeared altogether and many jobs have gone offshore. How do you ensure your success in these perilous times?

No matter what level you’re at in your organization, the last thing you should do is to go unnoticed by burying your head in the sand. Those who think being “invisible” will somehow protect them from losing their jobs are highly mistaken. Now is the time that companies are looking for leaders to come forward and create massive change to turn things around. Do you have something to offer? You need to take action to make yourself stand out from the crowd so that when the next round of layoffs comes, your job will be safe.

Many believe we are heading toward a jobless recovery, but I disagree. This is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd and show the world what you’ve got. If you can perfectly position yourself to take advantage of the current situation and create real organizational change, you will prove yourself worthy to your employer and gain job security.

Are you ready to get ahead but don’t know where to start? Learn the skills you need to get noticed, gain authority, and get ahead in your organization. In this recent blog post, Patricia Faulhaber reviews my new book, Getting Ahead, in which I reveal the exact 3-step model you need to get started.

Joel Garfinkle is an executive coaching career coach who has been developing effective leaders for years. Contact Joel to find out how executive coaching can lead the way to career and job advancement.

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How To Shine When the Competition Gets Tough

Eco Energy Saver Light Bulb
“Nobody’s a natural. You work hard to get good and then work to get better.”

~ Paul Coffey ~

You’ve always been a star worker—respected by your peers and looked up to by your employees. Using your quick wits and technical skills, rising up the ranks was smooth sailing until you moved to a larger firm.

You took on the responsibility with zeal and excitement, awaiting the same recognition and esteem only to find that you’re now surrounded by other star workers, each with their own unique skill sets and talents, and you find it hard to stand out from your peers.

The star status that seemed effortless at one time seems to be getting harder and harder to achieve with the tougher competition. You strive to get noticed as you see others shining in the limelight of success.

If you identify with the above, you’re not alone. As an executive coach, I see this happen all the time. Clients come to me feeling confused about how they should tackle this difficult adjustment and what steps they should take to up their game.

If you’re in the same boat and want some immediate answers, my recent guest post for will tell you how to stand out from the talent around you. You must have done something right to get to where you are; keep your confidence high, and with the right know-how you’ll shine again.

If you need a little help getting your star to shine again, executive coaching career coach Joel Garfinkle can help. Contact Joel today to reach your full potential through his executive coaching services.

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Stand Out from the Talent Around You

Standing Out

A potential leader can  hardly afford to wait to become a legend in  his  own time to satisfy  us,  he  must almost become a  legend ahead of his time

~ Brock Brewer ~

At a certain stage in your professional life, you’ll be working with the best. Everyone will be as good as or better than you. It becomes more difficult to gain the recognition and promotions you deserve.  Chris Carmichael, Lance Armstrong’s personal coach and the US Olympic Committee’s Coach of the Year in 1999 advises, “You have to work hard and be smart to stand out. You’re no longer competing against just a handful of talented people; you’re playing against people just like you who were selected from a far greater candidate pool.”

Stand out, get noticed and get ahead. Here are some executive coaching tools to help you.