Don't believe your own words? Your body will betray you

Don't believe your own words? Your body will betray you | practice (split each time) | Let life experiences guide speeches, interactions
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January 17, 2024
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Leading the Way
Don't believe your own words? Your body will betray you
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Leaders say a lot of words, but their body language says much more depending on such aspects as posture, eye contact and whether or not they smile and other facial expressions, writes author and body language expert Carol Kinsey Goman, who recommends leaders think about the image they want their body to project. "Using body language to project leadership presence is no longer a 'nice-to-have' skill, but rather an essential ingredient that affects your ability to gain trust, create relationships, and, ultimately, drive results," Goman writes.
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Put it into practice: In addition to body language, leaders need to also pay attention to their voice tone and pitch, speaking in a lower range to gain trust and avoiding talking in a monotone manner, Goman writes. "Body language reflects your internal state and reveals your true feelings, so you will always be the most convincing when you truly believe what you're saying."
 
Smarter Communication
Let life experiences guide speeches, interactions
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Use the good and bad memories of your own experiences as a customer not only as fodder for presentation anecdotes but also to guide how you treat your company's customers. Ensure you've equipped all employees to do so because "your business's reputation is as strong as your least engaged employee," executive speech coach Patricia Fripp writes.
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Put it into practice: Encourage every employee to imagine they're the boss and step up to kindly and helpfully interact with customers. "This means every team member, regardless of their role, contributes to the business's image and success," Fripp explains.
Drama at work can be career-ending and contagious, so leaders must be prepared to lower the temperature quickly when emotions run hot, write leadership consultants Karin Hurt and David Dye. "I appreciate you sharing that with me," "I apologize" and "Here's what I'm hearing so far" are savvy, dial-it-down phrases to keep in mind.
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Put it into practice: Heated emotions generally stem from feeling disrespected or threatened or experiencing negative consequences or loss of control, Hurt and Dye write. Convey a sense of safety and trust to help de-escalate a situation.
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In Their Own Words
Giada De Laurentiis: Learn what you need to sweat over
De Laurentiis (David Livingston/Getty Images)
Flexibility on the job and mentorship of employees is key to good leadership for Giada De Laurentiis, chef, author, TV personality and founder of Giadzy, who says she looks for ways to help her staff balance life and work and emphasizes collaboration and not sweating "the small stuff." "We need to start prioritizing what we really think we need to sweat over," De Laurentiis says.
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Daily Diversion
Hate broccoli? It could be because of social cues
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Other people's facial expressions when eating specific foods could influence how much people like that food, according to a study in Frontiers in Psychology. Psychologists showed videos of people eating raw broccoli to more than 200 young women, whose preference for the vegetable fell when they saw negative expressions, while positive expressions had no effect.
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SmartBreak: Question of the Day
Billboard magazine's obit for Chuck Berry claims he invented rock and roll but it's disputed by others on this list. So, who was born first?
VoteChuck Berry
VoteFats Domino
VoteJerry Lee Lewis
VoteLittle Richard
About The Editor
Candace Chellew
Candace Chellew
Chellew
I was the guest speaker at a spiritual community in Asheville, N.C., last Sunday, and afterward, I had a gentleman approach me and give me some excellent advice. Then, on Monday, I had a friend echo that same advice, so a more significant message was being sent to me from somewhere.

On Sunday, I began my talk with a bit of self-effacing humor, thanking the group for indulging me while I "tortured" them for the next 20 minutes. The man who spoke to me told me he used to do the same thing until he realized that trying to set low expectations for your audience does nothing but harm your own self-confidence.

"You were a joy to listen to," he told me. "Don't ever think you're torturing an audience." I thanked him for his feedback.

Then, on Monday, I had coffee with a friend who also remarked about my stage presence, this time whenever I approached the mic to sing one of my songs.

"It's like you apologize for being there," he said, referencing my body language when I got up to sing. "Own the stage!"

Two body and literal language comments in as many days tell me I need to work on my leadership presence! Carol Kinsey Goman's advice on projecting confidence in spoken and bodily language hit home for me. As I approach the stage, I will adjust my behavior to project confidence in my skills and talent.

Have you considered how your body language and the words you say affect your leadership presence? Now might be a good time to ask for feedback from those you trust.

If this newsletter helps you, please tell your colleagues, friends or anyone who can benefit. Forward them this email, or send this link.

What topics do you see in your daily work that I should know about? Do you have praise? Criticism? Drop me a note. And don't forget to send me photos of your pets, your office and where you spend your time off.
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Big things are best said, are almost always said, in small words.
Peggy Noonan,
columnist, Pulitzer Prize for Commentary recipient
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