Step three how to work through body language change

Assessing your own body language is hard because catching yourself unawares is as physically impossible as tickling yourself. (A brief pause to give those of you who didn't know you couldn't tickle yourself a chance to try )

In perception terms you are either aware of your own body language or very unaware Once you become aware you also become inhibited, which has an instant and traumatic effect on your gestures and movements, altering them out of all recognition . Take my word for it; I know this to be true . The minute I tell people what I do for a living their muscles undergo a form of rigor mortis and their movements become wooden

Nevertheless, tweaking your own body language to create improvement is so absolutely necessary that you're going to have to move through the pain barrier and launch yourself on a voyage of self-discovery Why the pain? Because very few people are naturally gifted body language performers A lot of people have the body language charisma rating of a sea urchin When you start to become observant of your own behavior you will find it's like looking at party photos: embarrassing and depressing You'll fail to recognize yourself or identify with your gestures, facial expressions, and nervous tics and twitches You'll wonder aloud why no friend has told you about this before . You'll stop laughing at Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Mr . Bean and start to feel empathy instead

Not all the changes you're going to make will be traumatic; in fact, the good news is that very few of them are, unless you're going to be a wuss

What's a body language wuss? Well, they're those people who turn up on my courses to work on their body language but who then—like the runt of the litter at the school gym—produce a sick note .

By "sick note" I don't mean a written letter from their mommy explaining why they don't have to j oin in; instead, I'm talking about a series of verbal sick notes explaining why they do what they do in body language terms

Instead of simply moving toward improved nonverbals, they prefer to stall by explaining why they do what they do, as in: "I only play with the change in my pocket because I'm nervous . I can't help it," or, "I couldn't help frowning when my colleague walked in; it wasn't rudeness, it's just the way my face goes "

These are sick notes . You crossed your arms because you were cold, not to create a barrier from the person talking to you You drummed your fingers out of anxiety, not boredom It was shyness that prevented you from using eye contact, not rudeness

The problem with body language sick notes is that we can't go through life handing them out With your visual image you only really get the one shot People will sum you up in as long as it takes to blink an eye, and if you look hostile or pointless then that's how they will think you are If you're lucky and have more time they might discover the "real" you buried under all that dodgy-looking rubble, but the big problem with modern life is we see way too many people per day to go rooting around for any hidden gems

People tend to read by what they see and are often too busy to look for alternative reasons or causes They get what they'll call a gut reaction about you and no amount of excuses will make up lost ground .

Anyway, when did you last apologize verbally for your own body language? If your partner accuses you of giving him or her a dirty look, do you apologize and say you had an eyelash in your eye or do you shrug it off, assuming it's their problem if they misread your signals?

I yawned recently in a client meeting We all know what that signals and—although in this case the boredom factor was teetering toward the unbearable—the only reason for my yawn was that I'd seen someone else yawning in an office across the way . Yawning is contagious, but try telling that to a client who thinks you've just been hugely disrespectful!

Continue reading here: Easy tweaking

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