Inverse Body Language

Body Language No Comments »

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Some of you may know, I spent two months in Honolulu this summer teaching classes and lecturing. While there I stumbled across a wonderful opportunity, I got to work behind the scene of a criminal court case. I was brought on to see how the defendant was doing in terms of body language and to also profile the learning behaviors of the jury. Eventually, I advised the defending counsel to improve their body language because the jury has long since hit maximum information saturation and was not going to take in any further information unless there was some kind of tangible pay back. This is where body language became key.

People do not realized that body language can be a form of great reward or punishment Mens New Balance A19. When I entered the courtroom for the first time, I look at the defendant’s body language and saw how the jury was responding to it. They were at odds with each other. Immediately, I got the sense if things did not change she was going to loose — and very badly. The jury felt punished by her body language. She said she was trying to project that she was a hard worker. What she did instead is what I call “inverse body language.”

“Inverse Body Language” is when we send the message opposite of what we intended. In the case, my court defendant attempt to project that she was a “hard” worker set of a body language conversation of “do not like me or interact with me” which is devastating in a jury trial.


Look at the three example photos that I have pulled off the internet. In each case the individuals are clearly focused on their work, but to someone who has to approach these people, they are not open to interaction. Most people will not interact with these people because their heads are down and their arms guard their hearts Air Max Lunar 90 Flyknit. This is a strong body message to most of us that someone is intensely working. Unfortunately, it further says, “do not disturb me.” For my court client, it also said an “inverse” message, “do not engage with me or like me.”

Just notice how quickly you formed an opinion about each of these three people. How does their body communication make you feel? How much of your day do you find yourself communicating this message? Body language is a reward you can give to others. How would you change these people posture so it would send the message of working hard, but also be a reward to all around?

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Now, lets talk about your next promotion?

Exercise: Either at work or in your personal life, notice where you come across the most resistance or struggle to communicate. Then with your mind’s eye, look objectively at the body language you are communicating. Does it match your results?

The Pop Heard Round the…Deflation

Body Language No Comments »

windowsvistalaunch.jpg I saw this picture on Seth Godin’s blog and had to comment.
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Microsoft Windows launched its highly expected “Vista” operating system. Microsoft and all affiliates should have been excited about the buzz Vista was to create in the industry. In fact their slogan was “the ‘Wow’ starts now”.
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Based on the body language, it looks like Microsoft came up with a “The ‘Wow’ ends now”. Seated in this picture from left to right is head of Dell, Microsoft, Toshiba Advanced Micro Devices and HP. Not one of them looks even remotely excited by the new product they are introducing to the public and into their respective products. In fact, the only body language that Microsoft’s Vista activated is just “soft” and not in a Micro amount. None of these executives sustain up-right posture or a smile throughout the launch presentation. Scowls are usually not reserved for parties and these guys seem to have excess of it.
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Instead of creating a “wow”, this photo evoked images of uptight, uncomfortable, unease and constipation. It looks more like the line for a colonic waiting room rather than a team of innovators launching a new product. They fail to be as open and presentable as the power-point presentation. Enthusiasm is generated through body language, facial expression, presence of heart and connection to core. Where is it with those involved with Microsoft’s Vista?
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This photo leaves me with three questions:
1. Who is the leader in this photo? Based on body language, there isn’t one. Heaven forbid there was a moderator that was standing; because it was accidentally him or her.
2. Are these guys working together on the same team and was this even important? Half of them did not think so. Three of the executives are wearing ties and three are not. The only uniform is their odd body language.
3. Speaking of body language, who taught these guys to sit and cover their masculinity like this? The impact of their body language on Vista is obvious. But do you think they realize the impact it has on their health and eventually the health of Microsoft?

This photo looks more like bad news being broken to the public than a party getting started. In the final analysis, Microsoft’s “Pop” was the sound we heard before their supporters deflated into an intestinally compressive posture.

Leadership Starts from the Head Down

Posture, Leadership, Body Language No Comments »

There is a saying, intent is 2/3 the law. I have never been totally sure what that has meant, but it is a great segue into what I want to talk about. In communication, body language is 55% of communication. This is to say body language is a large component of communication, personal message and leadership.
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Body language is how we communicate to people and the environment. It is our message about ourselves and the rule of conduct with us. It is also the means of emoting personal messages and the statements about ourselves. For example, “I am serious,” “I am the leader,” “I am happy” or “I am healthy.” Likewise, it also works the opposite way.
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billgates.jpg Bill Gates is an icon of wealth, innovation, and more recently, education in developing countries. He led Microsoft to become a power house in the computer industry and has a net worth of $53 billion. By looking at this picture of him, I have to ask the question, what happened?

touche-turtle.jpgGoogle “Bill Gates” and you will find hundreds of photos of Bill in various points of his life and career. Most of the time he looks youthful and rebellious, but in this photo he is just sporting a serious case of anterior head carriage. He looks more like Touché Turtle than a Barron of Industry.
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Anterior carriage is a sign of sympathetic overload and exhaustion. This once youthful innovator is looking tired. What do you think he will look like in a year from now if nothing changes? How often do you find yourself in the same tired posture/body language and what do you think it will look like in a year to five years from now.

If you want to make a different impression with your body language, make sure your heart leads you through life and not your head. Having the heart raised and the head squarely over the body is the strongest sign of leadership. But there seems to be an exception. If you own billions, you can have all the anterior head carriage you want. Until then, keep your heart up, head over you body and eyes on the horizon. If you happen to be a billionaire, “Touché and away!”