William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

Body Language

I just finished a book, "Body Language" by Julius Fast. And before you ask, I did finish it quickly!

That classic cover is slightly sex-biased and has been updated in the revision I was reading.

Some points, some copied, some derived:

- Body language is just that, a language. It's "spoken" differently across different cultures, backgrounds, and even between individuals. Until reading this book, I was only passively aware of it and only consciously communicated with my words. But words are really only a small part of the story! (I think this also plays into why Kennedy was seen to win the TV debate while Nixon ruled the radio debate.)

- A mature person moves when he has to, and moves purposefully. Fidgeting is a sure sign of immaturity, and is a turn-off. One must also be aware of where they are spatially at all times - if you're clumsy with yourself, the take-home message is that you're careless socially and with other things that matter, too.

- Many leaders can lead without having to speak a whole lot! All you need to do is master the art of guiding people to do what they're inclined to anyway. Also, being a good listener doesn't mean just listening with your ears, you have to listen with your body, too.

- There's a great "artist appraising a painting" look that I want to learn and try out on people.

- I watched myself critically in the mirror and instantly realized why my super-exaggerated gestures, that to me are funny and ironic, put people off. This also dovetails with the whole moving less thing. If I'm a loose cannon with my expressions, it follows that I'm a loose cannon in general.

- The reason why I succeeded at Sainte-Anne is largely due to body language. The French immersion aspect forced me to learn it. Also, the body language there was a new kind - a kind of Saint-Annish, if you will, which means that I got to start with a clean slate, and I learned quickly. "Will is very expressive!" Luc would say. But after the contracts were finished, and we could speak English again, I quickly began to alienate people. I basically reverted to the body language I was using before I began the program. My movements started to convey insecurity, immaturity, and some degree of desperation.

- In the end, I'm going to see if I can "talk" more with my body and less with my mouth. I need to learn how to master silences. I also want to stop alienating people that I don't want to alienate. By just changing the way we carry ourselves, we can convey the message: "I am a great guy / girl. I am cool. I want to be your friend. Trust me." I can't wait to get back into the field after being cooped up here since Saturday. (Said Charlie Brown to Snoopy: "What's Joe Cool doing on campus on a Saturday?" Snoopy: "No wheels, man!" In my case, home with no bus service.)
Tags: communication, language, people
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